South Africa

Ace Magashule's former driver who stole painting to hear his fate next week

Ricardo Mettler, the former bodyguard of the then premier of the Free State Ace Magashule, who stole a Pierneef painting worth R8m in 2018, will know his fate next Wednesday when the high court in Bloemfontein is due to sentence him.

In December last year, the high court found Mettler, 43, guilty of theft, money laundering and fraud. This followed a trial regarding  the disappearance of the valuable JH Pierneef painting  from the provincial government's OR Tambo building in the Free State during 2018.

In addition, judge Soma Naidoo found Mettler guilty of making a false statement to the police in which he said Magashule gave him the painting as a present.

After his conviction last year, the case was postponed until Wednesday for sentencing proceedings to begin. They  began with the social worker presenting a pre-sentence report.

This report assists the judge to make an informed and appropriate decision about the sentence to be imposed on Mettler. The prosecution then presented arguments in aggravation of sentence while the defence presented arguments in mitigation of sentence.

National Prosecuting Authority spokesperson Phaladi Shuping said the judge needed to consider material presented to her and indicated she would be in a position to pronounce on the sentence next Wednesday.


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