5 years for horn trader
SEA POINT curio shop owner Mark Goldberg has been sentenced to an effective five years in jail for the illegal possession and sale of ivory items worth more than R30 million.
But his sentence has been put on ice pending his appeal against his conviction and sentence in the Western Cape High Court.
Cape Town Regional Court magistrate Wilma van der Merwe sentenced Goldberg yesterday to seven years, with two years suspended for the next five years on condition he was not convicted of a similar offence.
Van der Merwe convicted him of three counts of possession of African elephant ivory without a permit and two counts of selling the items. In July, Van der Merwe rejected Goldberg’s defence that he was only the manager of the Gift House Curio Shop in Sea Point, which was owned by his mother, Sonja Marcus. When Marcus died, Goldberg inherited the business.
CapeNature officials raided the curio shop in 2009 and found 43 905 ivory items, including necklaces, earrings and ivory stamps.
In handing down sentence, Van der Merwe said Goldberg had been convicted of an “exceptionally serious crime”.
Immediately after the sentence, Goldberg’s lawyer, advocate Reuben Liddell, brought an application for leave to appeal, saying the sentence was “excessive”.
He added that a fine coupled with a suspended sentence would have been appropriate.
State advocate Rashied Daniels objected to the application, saying the sentence was just.
But Van der Merwe granted Goldberg leave to appeal and reinstated his bail of R50 000.
One condition was attached to his bail: he must notify the investigating officer if he plans to leave the country. Van der Merwe said he would have to supply a full itinerary of his stay abroad and contact details.