Judge ex­cuses Ro­hde case ex­pert wit­ness

Daily News - - NEWS - ATHINA MAY

FOREN­SIC psy­chi­a­trist Dr Larissa Panieri-Peter, who tes­ti­fied that Su­san Ro­hde had ma­jor de­pres­sion, which in­creased her risk of sui­cide, was ex­cused by Judge Gayaat Salie-Hlophe yes­ter­day for “re­gur­gi­tat­ing tes­ti­monies al­ready placed be­fore the West­ern Cape High Court” and over­step­ping her role.

Panieri-Peter, who tes­ti­fied on Mon­day where Ja­son Ro­hde is stand­ing trial for the mur­der of his wife, who was found dead at the Spier Wine Es­tate in 2016, said she had phys­i­cal and tele­phonic ses­sions with peo­ple in­volved in both their lives. She said given her un­der­stand­ing of psy­chi­a­try, she would say Su­san had ma­jor de­pres­sion.

Yes­ter­day, the judge raised con­cerns at var­i­ous stages dur­ing Panieri-Peter’s tes­ti­mony and had reser­va­tions, which made men­tion of anony­mous per­sons and ev­i­dence al­ready brought be­fore the court.

Judge Salie-Hlophe said Panieri-Peter’s tes­ti­mony al­leged facts she said were given to her by pre­vi­ous wit­nesses, but was not dis­closed dur­ing their ev­i­dence.

“This re­port and ex­pert tes­ti­mony of Panieri-Peter’s is no more than re­gur­gi­tat­ing tes­ti­monies al­ready placed be­fore this court. In fact, it went about to use the func­tion and role of court, whose role it is to de­ter­mine whether Su­san’s death was a sui­cide or homi­cide. No court act­ing rea­son­ably would ab­di­cate this re­spon­si­bil­ity. Un­less there is any­thing the wit­ness can bring, fur­ther ex­am­i­na­tion is not al­lowed and ac­cord­ingly this wit­ness will be ex­cused,” said the judge.

De­fence ad­vo­cate Gra­ham van der Spuy ob­jected to the rul­ing, say­ing it was grossly un­fair and prej­u­diced Ro­hde. Van der Spuy said he would bring an ap­pli­ca­tion for a spe­cial en­try to court.

Judge Salie-Hlophe noted the spe­cial en­try and asked when the next wit­ness would be avail­able to give ev­i­dence.

The trial was post­poned to June 19, when the next wit­ness, Dr Reg­gie Peru­mal, would take the stand.


State ad­vo­cate Louis van Niek­erk, de­fence wit­ness Dr Larissa Panieri-Peter and for­mer Sotheby’s head in SA, Tony Mostert.

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