There was a new legal twist in the R50m Arthur Kaplan jewel heist case yesterday, reports TimesLIVE. The matter, now a consolidation of cases, has been referred to the DPP to decide which court will hear the matter.

The saga began when embattled jewellery chain Arthur Kaplan was placed into liquidation last December.

Liquidator Laila Motala was appointed to lead the process. However, she was later involved in an altercation with Arthur Kaplan MD Hoosein Mohamed. This then led to criminal charges of assault, the alleged theft of missing jewellery and Mohamed’s arrest.

The matter was heard in the Randburg Magistrate’s Court, and Mohamed was denied bail on grounds that he had lied in court, had shown ‘a propensity to commit schedule one offences’ and had interfered with witnesses.

While Mohamed was in custody, and after ascertaining that jewellery and high-end watches worth millions were missing from the Arthur Kaplan stores, Motala secured a High Court order authorising her to search Mohamed’s home and several other premises.

However, she was unable to find any of the missing items.

Motala again approached the High Court, this time for an Anton Piller order that allowed the Sheriff of the court and a forensic expert to confiscate Mohamed’s devices in his possession with the aim of securing evidence of the theft. 

Mohamed then took the bail decision on appeal to the Gauteng High Court (Johannesburg), where a judge ruled in his favour.

However, he could not be released as he was still in custody for the theft case. But late last Friday Mohamed’s legal team mounted another bail bid in the Gauteng High Court (Pretoria), reports TimesLIVE.

‘Pursuant to an urgent application launched on Friday afternoon, I can confirm that my client was released from custody in respect of the second alleged charge of theft by the complainant, Ms Motala, which we believe was vexatious and simply, a vigorous attempt to prolong his incarceration,’ said Mohamed’s lawyer, Mohseen Mayat, who handled the matter with Advocate Francois Botes SC.

Yesterday, both the assault and theft cases were consolidated and placed before Alexandra Regional Court magistrate Hannelie Banks, who postponed the matter for six weeks for it to be referred to the DPP for a decision on which the court the matter will be heard in.

‘I have no authority over a High Court decision and have to simply do what’s instructed, which is to postpone the matter,’ Banks said, adding she did not even know what the case was about.

Full TimesLIVE report