Judge Joseph Mhlambi delivered Judge Soma Naidoo’s verdict in the motions court in Bloemfontein on Thursday morning. Mettler filed an application to try and overturn his 15-year jail sentence for the theft of the Pierneef painting worth R8 million.
His legal counsel, Advocate Christo Meiring, on Wednesday argued that there was not sufficient evidence to show that Mettler had stolen state property. Meiring argued that it was also unclear whether, by the time Mettler removed the painting, it did have the government barcode or not. Meiring said if the Pierneef painting did not have the barcode by the time Mettler removed it in March 2018, he would not be guilty of theft or stealing the government’s property.
Meiring said while Judge Naidoo was delivering her sentencing of Mettler, she had made inferences which were based on uproven facts, hence she misdirected herself by finding the latter guilty.
Last month, Mettler filed papers to appeal his sentence and conviction after Judge Naidoo found him guilty in 2020 on counts of theft, fraud, money laundering and perjury, and accordingly sentenced him in March 2021. Judge Naidoo handed Mettler a 15-year prison sentence for theft, 15 years for money laundering, 15 years for fraud and 12 months for perjury. Counts two and four are running concurrently.
Meanwhile, on Wednesday, the state argued that Mettler was sentenced accordingly and that no other judge will come to a different conclusion. During the argument, the state highlighted that the evidence which led to Mettler’s conviction of 15 years’ imprisonment for stealing the R8 million Pierneef painting was credible.
Mettler could take up the judgment against his application for leave to appeal to the Bloemfontein-based Supreme Court of Appeal (SCA).
This article was republished from OFM News with permission