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Rohde v S (SS43/2017) [2021] ZAWCHC 221


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Rohde v S (SS43/2017) [2021] ZAWCHC 221

Legal Gavel

5th November 2021


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Click here to read the full judgment in Saflii

1]         This matter relates to a bail application pending an application to the Constitutional Court for special leave to appeal against the decision of the Supreme Court of Appeal.  The applicant in this matter was charged and convicted of the murder of his wife, the late Mrs. Susan Rohde and the staging of her murder as a suicide.  He appealed his aforesaid convictions and effective sentence of 20 years direct imprisonment to the Supreme Court of Appeal (“SCA”).  The appeal was heard on 16 August 2021, a written judgment handed down electronically, the date and time of which is deemed to be 09h45 on Tuesday, 5 October 2021.   The appeal against the two convictions were dismissed by the SCA.  As regards sentence, the effective period of direct imprisonment was reduced to fifteen (15) years, antedated to have been imposed on 27 February 2019, the date upon which he was sentenced by this Court.


2]         Having been granted bail on 18 December 2019 by the SCA, pending finalisation of his appeal, the applicant had forty-eight (48) hours to hand himself over to undergo his imprisonment by reporting to the Plettenberg Bay Police Station upon written notice to that effect being served on his attorney of record in circumstances where the outcome of the appeal amounted to him having to serve a sentence of incarceration. It is common cause that the notice issued by the Western Cape High Court titled: “NOTICE TO REPORT TO UNDERGO PERIOD OF IMPRISONMENT” was served at 14h14 on 7 October 2021.  This application for “release on bail” was brought on the 8th of October 2021, that being, during the 48 hour period for him to report to commence his sentence of 15 years.  The matter stood over from the urgent duty roll on 8th October 2021 for determination on the following Court day (Monday, 11th) for the conduct of the new application for bail to be determined.  The original Notice of Motion has subsequently been amended to first seek my recusal on grounds which I deal with in detail below.  By way of introduction, this application for recusal was brought after it had been determined that the issue of bail shall be decided by myself, having sat as the trial judge.  Part A of the application (amended pursuant to the matter placed before me for hearing) seeks my recusal and that the bail application be postponed sine dies.  It is common cause that as at the time of hearing of this recusal application, the order that the applicant must undergo a 15 year period of imprisonment had been suspended.  I deal with this latter aspect in some detail later in this judgment.

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