Page last updated at 12:17 GMT, Wednesday, 14 April 2010 13:17 UK

Lawyer lauded for Leonardo da Vinci artwork return

Clockwise from top left, Robert Graham, John Doyle, Marshall Ronald, David Boyce and Calum Jones
Mr Ronald (top right) is one of five men on trial at the High Court in Edinburgh

A lawyer has been lauded as the person "principally responsible" for getting a stolen da Vinci back to its owner.

Marshall Ronald was said to have become "obsessed" with the Madonna of the Yarnwinder project and then "greedy".

However, his defence advocate Donald Findlay QC said that did not make him an extortionist.

Mr Ronald is one of five men on trial at the High Court in Edinburgh who deny conspiring to extort £4.25m for the painting's return.

In his closing speech to the jury, Mr Findlay said it was an "incontrovertible fact" that but for his client's efforts the painting would not have been recovered.

If you think he was greedy you may well be right but that is not the issue before you today
Donald Findlay QC

It was stolen from the Duke of Buccleuch's Drumlanrig Estate in Dumfriesshire in August 2003.

Mr Findlay admitted that Mr Ronald had done things that were wrong, such as taking money from his law firm's client account.

"That is abhorrent to all lawyers," he said.

"He knows it and is ashamed of it - but that does not make him an extortionist."

He told the jury: "If you think he was greedy you may well be right but that is not the issue before you today."

Mr Findlay said it was not "a court of morals or social attitudes or personal opinions".

Proved its case

"You are asked only to decide if the Crown has proved its case beyond all reasonable doubt," he said.

Mr Findlay said Mr Ronald had committed no crime in trying to find out if there was a reward, nor in saying that it had to be at least £700,000 to acquire the painting from the person in possession of it.

Neither, he said, would it have been a crime for the duke to pay whatever sum he saw fit to get the painting back.

On trial with Mr Ronald, 53, are Robert Graham, 57, and John Doyle, 61, all from Lancashire, Calum Jones, 45, of Renfrewshire, and David Boyce, 63, of Lanarkshire.

They deny conspiring to extort pounds £4.25m between July and October 2007. The trial continues.



Print Sponsor


RELATED INTERNET LINKS
The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites



FEATURES, VIEWS, ANALYSIS
Has China's housing bubble burst?
How the world's oldest clove tree defied an empire
Why Royal Ballet principal Sergei Polunin quit

BBC navigation

BBC © 2014 The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites. Read more.

This page is best viewed in an up-to-date web browser with style sheets (CSS) enabled. While you will be able to view the content of this page in your current browser, you will not be able to get the full visual experience. Please consider upgrading your browser software or enabling style sheets (CSS) if you are able to do so.

Americas Africa Europe Middle East South Asia Asia Pacific