Convicted murderer Jason Rohde’s eldest daughter Katie Rohde who was set to testify in mitigation of sentence at the high court in Cape Town on Thursday, changed her mind just minutes after she took to the witness stand.
Katie had just been sworn in when defence advocate Graham van der Spuy requested to address the court and told the Western Cape High Court Judge Gayaat Salie-Hlophe that the witness no longer wished to testify.
This followed after Judge Salie-Hlophe ruled that the media could remain in court and that an audio of Katie’s testimony could be broadcast without the cameras focusing on her. According to Van der Spuy, the 20-year-old Katie only agreed to testify without broadcast as she was under a lot of "unfair pressure".
Rohde was convicted by Western Cape High Court Judge Salie-Hlophe on November 8 of the 2016 murder of his wife Susan Rohde and defeating the ends of justice by staging her suicide.
Rohde has been in Pollsmoor prison since his conviction.
Rohde will be remanded until his next appearance on February 18, after Judge Salie-Hlophe turned down Van der Spuy’s application for bail reinstatement.
The defence said it would be calling two friends and former colleagues of Rohde, as well as Rohde's mother, Brenda, to give evidence in mitigation of sentence.
- African News Agency (ANA