FREEDOM: Jason van Antwerpen, who was accused of burglary at Shimansky at the V&A Waterfront, has been acquitted of robbery charges.
Cape Town - Well-known businessman, Jason van Antwerpen, has been acquitted of charges of robbery against him.

The Western Cape High Court has found Van Antwerpen not guilty for an armed robbery which dates back to 2010.

However, Van Antwerpen along with his lawyer, William Booth, are closely studying the judgment to “take meticulous action against the State”.

The trial started in July 2010 and ran until Friday when he was acquitted.

“Mr van Antwerpen was extremely happy and felt vindicated as he maintained his innocence throughout,” Booth said on behalf of his client.

Booth said that they have requested the court’s judgment to make a final decision on further legal action. “We have requested the court judgment, we will study it in more detail and then we will make a final decision,” he said.

Whether the State acted fairly towards his client would also be a matter for consideration, Booth said. “As far as the unfairness is concerned, this is something that we will decide on in due course as that is an aspect that must be considered when deciding on any civil action.”

Booth added that his client was affected by the negative publicity. “As a well-known businessman, he was affected by the adverse publicity and having to appear in court, in the public eye, for seven years,” Booth said.

The Johannesburg man was on trial in Cape Town and was accused of allegedly breaking into the iconic jewellery store, Shimansky at the V&A Waterfront back in 2010.

He was accused of stealing jewels worth R1.6million. The State failed to prove that Van Antwerpen, sporting a batman mask, entered the store through the roof and purchased a gun prior to the robbery. Van Antwerpen works as a civil engineer and has his own business.

Van Antwerpen was forced to continue running his business while on trial. “Having to carry on with his family life and his business when he had the case hanging over his head for so long - that was the hardest for him,” Booth said.

The State had a weak amount of evidence and, as a result, the magistrate granted an application by Booth for Van Antwerpen to be discharged at the end of the State’s case.

This means that the evidence against him was insufficient for the case to continue after the State had led its evidence. In return, the magistrate found that there was no evidence on which a reasonable person may be convicted.

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Cape Argus