Saturday, April 10, 2010

Stolen Art Watch, Leonardo Da Vinci Madonna, With Hindsight We Would All Be Scholars, and Billionaires !!!

Da Vinci lawyer: "I should have phoned the police"

A solicitor has told a trial that he should have called in police as soon as he heard about a plan to recover a stolen Leonardo da Vinci.

Calum Jones, 45, told the High Court in Edinburgh how the events which led up to his arrest in October 2007, began.

The prosecution claims a meeting he attended was the start of a plot to extort money from the Buccleuch family, the owners of the painting.

Mr Jones denies being part of a plot to hold the Da Vinci painting to ransom.

He told the court that he was called to a meeting with two Merseyside private investigators and a Lancashire-based solicitor on 30 July 2007, in the offices of his firm.

He told the court: "I write contracts. That is why I was there."

The Crown claim that the meeting was the start of a plot to extort money from the Duke of Buccleuch, owner of the Madonna of the Yarnwinder painting, or their insurers.

Advocate depute Simon Di Rollo, prosecuting, said: "All the parties in that room knew perfectly well what was going on and the reason was to extort or attempt to extort a ransom for the return of the painting."

Mr Jones replied: "I can only speak for one party and that is myself and that is not the case."

The court has been shown drafts of a supposed agreement which includes references to confidentiality and not telling law enforcement authorities what was happening - clauses which the Crown claim suggest a crime was being contemplated. Mr Jones denies the allegations.

Mr Jones said no document was ever signed.

Mr Di Rollo asked Mr Jones what sort of contract would be required.

"Absolutely none," he replied and added that he should have phoned the police straight away.

Mr Jones senior partner, David Boyce, 63, is expected to give evidence when the trial continues on Monday.

Judge Lady Dorrian, told the jury that the trial may not finish until the week beginning 19 April.

Mr Jones, from Renfrewshire, Marshall Ronald, 53, and John Doyle, 61, both from Lancashire, deny conspiring to extort or attempting to extort £4.25m for the return of the painting between July and October 2007.

Also on trial are Robert Graham, 57, from Lancashire and Mr Boyce, who is from Lanarkshire.

They are not accused of stealing the painting.

No comments: