Wednesday, May 26, 2010
Stolen Art Watch, Leonardo Da Vinci Madonna, Sword of Truth Part 1 !!!
"If it falls to me to start a fight to cut out the cancer of bent and twisted Aristocracy and Elitist Dogma in our country with the simple sword of truth and the trusty shield of British fair play, so be it. I am ready for the fight. The fight against falsehood and those who peddle it. My fight begins today. Thank you and good afternoon."
S.O.C.A Serious Organised Crime Agency
Are they our Masters or our Servants?
In January 2007 two S.O.C.A. Police Officers met with Mark Dalrymple and Art Hostage at the Gatwick Airport Hilton Hotel for cwoffee to brainstorm how to recover the Madonna of the Yarnwinder painting stolen from the Duke of Buccleuch. At the time S.O.C.A. were selecting which cases they wished to undertake as part of their caseload. Mark Dalrymple was anxious for obvious reasons to have SOCA on board.
At the meeting the "Art Hostage" plan was agreed which was to entail three members of the public who had no knowledge of the operation. The three people identified by Mark Dalrymple (via Art Hostage) were Robert Graham, John Doyle from Stolen Stuff Reunited (Internet website) and Solicitor Marshall Ronald.
Six months later the whole plan moved up a gear leading to the covert police operation involving Mark Dalrymple David Restor and John Craig. The painting was recovered in October 2007, with Robert Graham, John Doyle and Marshall Ronald plus a Scottish solicitor being charged with conspiracy to rob.
Let me take a snapshot as of 5 October 2007 and pose a few basic questions.
1 Did S.O.C.A. disclose the evidence of the meeting at Gatwick Airport Hilton Hotel in January 2007 to Dumfries and Galloway Police?
2 Was the Procurator Fiscal aware of this meeting?
3 If S.O.C.A. did disclose the evidence of the meeting upon what legal basis could a charge of conspiracy to rob be formulated?
4 If S.O.C.A. did not reveal the evidence of the Gatwick Airport Hilton Hotel meeting should their actions not be investigated by the Independent Police Complaints Commission?
The very fact that S.O.C.A. attended a meeting where innocent members of the public were targeted unbeknown to them to become involved in a paintings recovery, when it was known to S.O.C.A. that the painting may have been in the hands of professional criminals or even terrorists, is a serious violation of Article 8 ECHR, the right to respect for private family life.
S.O.C.A. are our servants not our Masters and they are accountable to the courts when they step out of line
No law enforcement officers are authorised to behave in this manner against members of the public, or are they is the question.
The Duke Acknowledges John Craig
So What Happens Now?
“The loss adjuster, Mark Dalrymple, now became a key figure, and the duke began to learn something of the complexity of the art underworld. There is nothing illegal about seeking a reward for the return of a stolen painting. But dealing in stolen goods is a criminal activity. The distinction is critical.”
These words are carefully chosen by The Times and indeed deceptive in the context of the Da Vinci case. The whole premise of the Crown case was that John Craig was the lawfully appointed agent of the owner and that the owner wished to proceed by way of a buyback of the painting as part of a commercial transaction. The insurers had already offered a reward and that approach had been unsuccessful and it is important to understand the distinction
What occurred in the Da Vinci case was a matter of contract law not criminal law. In fact to be a little more precise it is the law of agency as should be readily apparent from the Duke when he announced in the Times on Saturday. “So I think it was incredible that John Craig had the capacity to convince people in the way that he did that he was the intermediary for us.”
I am sure the Duke understands that a master is liable for the acts of his servants so has the penny finally dropped!!!
It is accepted and agreed that the SOCA officer John Craig did an excellent job but he must have found it a breath of fresh air to deal with a solicitor focused on returning the painting as fast as he could. In this murky world he found someone who took him at his word.
“Things went cold for some time after that. But John Craig was able to convince the people he was talking to that he had this special link with the family.”
There was no convincing by John Craig he was presented as the Dukes agent by Mark Dalrymple through David Restor, it was all part an parcel of the plan conceived at Gatwick Airport Hilton in January 2007
Three weeks before receiving word that the painting might have been recovered, the duke’s father had died. He had known, before his death, that the picture was safe, but not that it had been found. He was never to see it again.
The Duke knew the picture was safe because he was in direct contact with Mike Brown
The Duke has perhaps been a little reticent about his involvement but if he or his advisers want to plant spoiler stories in the media perhaps he should reveal
1 How he created letters designed to convince about the buyback
2 How he facilitated in a private bank in Charlotte Square Edinburgh for Mike Brown to view £4.2m in a private vault.
3 He might also care to explain his meeting with DI Coupland(Senior Investigating Police Officer) the weekend before the recovery in October 2007
4 How his solicitors Anderson Stathern were disclosed by John Craig as the Dukes solicitors in the commercial transaction
There are some who would say that the Duke of Buccleuch should abandon his moral high ground and behave with a little dignity.
His family’s most precious asset has been recovered and the men involved have suffered greatly to achieve that aim. It is now time to quietly put this matter to bed and enjoy the painting by acknowledging the agreements your agents negotiated to secure its return