Ja­son Ro­hde’s daugh­ter re­fuses to tes­tify

Cape Times - - METRO - CHEVON BOOYSEN [email protected]

CON­VICTED mur­derer and former prop­erty mogul Ja­son Ro­hde’s daugh­ter made an about-turn at the 11th hour yes­ter­day, re­fus­ing to tes­tify in the Western Cape High Court be­cause she was fear­ful.

This was after a failed at­tempt by the de­fence to have Kathryn Ro­hde, 20, tes­tify in cam­era in mit­i­ga­tion of her fa­ther’s im­pend­ing sen­tence.

De­fence coun­sel Gra­ham van der Spuy had re­quested the court to hear Kathryn’s tes­ti­mony in cam­era as she was “in­cred­i­bly vul­ner­a­ble, very re­luc­tant and fear­ful”.

If it were to be done in an open court she would be do­ing it with “con­sid­er­able fear and re­luc­tance”, they charged. State pros­e­cu­tor Louis van Niek­erk op­posed the ap­pli­ca­tion, say­ing they did not want to set a prece­dent for other wit­nesses.

Van Niek­erk said they were not aware of any harm posed to Kathryn if her tes­ti­mony was heard in an open court. “Jus­tice must be done and must be seen to be done,” said Western Cape High Court Judge Gayaat Salie-Hlophe mo­ments be­fore rul­ing that the me­dia would have ac­cess to the court­room while Kathryn tes­ti­fied, but barred any vi­su­als to be fo­cussed on her.

Ja­son, con­victed of mur­der­ing his wife Su­san, be­came vis­i­bly emo­tional when his daugh­ter ap­proached the wit­ness bench and tried in vain to blink back tears.

The two ex­changed smiles while a short break was re­quested. There­after, Kathryn, who was not will­ing to give her tes­ti­mony, was ex­cused. Ja­son will spend Christ­mas be­hind bars after he was again de­nied bail.

The case was post­poned to Fe­bru­ary 18, when sen­tenc­ing pro­ceed­ings will con­tinue.

Ear­lier drama un­folded in the court­room when Van der Spuy was rep­ri­manded for “throw­ing his fin­ger in the air”, which Judge Salie-Hlophe took ex­cep­tion to and abruptly ad­journed pro­ceed­ings.

Judge Salie-Hlophe said Van der Spuy was lead­ing ev­i­dence that had al­ready been heard by the court and pointed out that the pur­pose of sen­tenc­ing pro­ceed­ings was not to “re­hash the trial”.

Van der Spuy re­sponded, say­ing the judge had “in­ter­rupted his flow of ques­tion­ing”.

JA­SON RO­HDE

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