The Free State High Court has dismissed an application for leave to appeal the conviction and sentencing of the ANC secretary-general Ace Magashule’s former driver, Ricardo Mettler.

According to a report in The Citizen, Judge Joseph Mhlambi delivered Judge Soma Naidoo’s verdict in the motions court in Bloemfontein yesterday.

Mettler filed an application to try to overturn his 15-year jail sentence for the theft of the Pierneef painting worth R8m.

His counsel, Advocate Christo Meiring, had 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 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.

Full report in The Citizen