Monday, March 29, 2010

Stolen Art Watch, Leonardo Da Vinci Madonna Trial, Lame Defence Whimper !!!

Leonardo Da Vinci Madonna case is about to shift towards the defence case starting at 12 noon.

All of the submissions to the Judge have been thrown out, surprise surprise.

Even David Boyce has had his attempt at the Reset charge being dropped has been rejected, even though David Boyce did not have any contact with Da Vinci Madonna painting.

More to follow...............

Solicitor sought Leonardo da Vinci 'kudos'

A solicitor facing extortion charges has told a court that "kudos" played a part in his decision to try to help return a stolen masterpiece.

Marshall Ronald, 53, also hoped to get a share of a reward for bringing back the Madonna of the Yarnwinder.

The Leonardo da Vinci work was stolen from a Dumfriesshire castle in 2003.

Mr Ronald and four others deny conspiring to extort £4.25m for its safe return in 2007. They are not accused of stealing the painting.

The trial at the High Court in Edinburgh has now entered its fifth week.

'Other promise'

Mr Ronald described an approach to his small law firm in Lancashire by two Merseyside private investigators Robert Graham, 57, and John Doyle, 61, who are among his co-accused.

The duo had a company called Stolen Stuff Reunited which specialised in returning stolen goods - particularly items of sentimental importance but of little value to thieves.

He said the pair had heard there was a chance they could return the painting to its owner and wanted advice on whether it could be done lawfully.

Defence QC Donald Findlay asked him what he expected to receive for returning the work.

"At that time it was 20% of the overage but the other promise that was relevant to myself, Jack Doyle and Robbie Graham was that there would be a tremendous amount of kudos," said Mr Ronald.

He suggested that returning it would be like the return of Edvard Munch's The Scream.

'Good publicity'

"The kudos would be substantial," he said.

Mr Findlay said it would be "pretty good publicity" for a one-man law firm.

"Yes, there was always the option that later on I could do something with that," Mr Ronald said.

On trial along with Mr Ronald, 53, are Mr Graham and Mr Doyle, all from Lancashire, Calum Jones, 45, from Renfrewshire, and David Boyce, 63, from Lanarkshire.

They deny conspiring to extort £4.25m and an alternative charge of attempting to extort the money.

The trial continues.

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