Court excuses defence expert from stand in Jason Rohde murder case

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CAPE TOWN, June 12 – The Western Cape High Court on Tuesday rejected further testimony from a defence witness, a forensic psychiatrist hired by Jason Rohde who is standing trial for the 2016 murder of his wife Susan Rohde.

Judge Gayaat Salie-Hlophe ruled that the court would not allow further cross-examination of Dr Larissa Panieri-Peter who testified on Monday that, after interactions with people close to Susan Rohde after her death, her conclusion was that she suffered from major depression and was a suicide risk.

Jason Rohde is accused of strangling his wife and staging her suicide after she was found hanged with an electrical cord from a hook behind the bathroom door of the hotel room they shared at the Spier Wine Estate in 2016.

Judge Salie-Hlophe told the court that Panieri-Peter’s report was objectionable as it contained information that has already been brought before the court.

“Unless there is anything that this witness would like to draw to the court’s attention, other than what’s said on the report, further examination is disallowed. It follows that (State prosecutor) Mr (Louis) Van Niekerk is not required to cross-examine this witness and this court furthermore has no questions for this witness. Accordingly, this witness will be excused,” ruled Judge Salie-Hlophe.

She ruled that the court would hear the next witness, but defence advocate Graham van der Spuy said the witness will only be available on Tuesday next week.

Court was adjourned until Tuesday.

– African News Agency (ANA)