The Criminal Court number 9 of Malaga has acquitted the man accused of substituting plastic for two rhino horns true that the ex-advisor of Marbella and main convicted in the ‘Malaya’ case, John Anthony Rock, had hunting trophies in one of his homes and put plastic ones in their place. It is considered that there is no proof of the crimes for which he was tried.

As is considered proven in the sentence, consulted by Europa Press, the accused was hired by the judicial administrator of the Marqués de Velilla SL entity, owner of the La Caridad de San Pedro de Alcántara estate, in Marbella, owned by Roca. In February 2011 he carried out works of deworming and disinfection of trophies.

Among those trophies was a pair of white rhinoceros horns, mounted on a board that were apparently considered authentic, which have been expertly valued at 52,000 euros and that they had been legally imported by their owner and covered by Cites import certificates, according to the resolution.

But the judge considers that “it cannot be considered sufficiently proven that said defendant, during the performance of that task that was entrusted to him and taking advantage of such circumstance, with the intention of illicit benefit, replaced some authentic rhinoceros horns with other false imitation ones made up of of plastic material”, so acquits him of the crime of theft.

The sentence also states that “the trade in rhinoceros horns is protected by the Cites agreement on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora”, therefore Trade in the animal and its imported remains is prohibited.

However, it adds that “it cannot be considered that the accused had any intervention in the possible sale of such stolen or substituted original horns, even if it did or did not take place, since his whereabouts are unknownFor this reason, he is also acquitted of the crimes of smuggling and attempted crimes against fauna.

The magistrate explains that “the evidence practiced in the act of trial and sustained, as the public accusation highlighted, on evidence, have not been enough to produce in the spirit of this judge a reasonable conviction about the guilt of the accused in what concerns the commission of the crimes that have been the subject of accusation.

Thus, he points out that Roca said in the trial that initially there were two original rhino horn tablets, pointing out the judge that if the defendant is blamed only for the substitution of one for another with plastic objects, doubts arise about the disappearance of the other; as well as on how the valuation of the pieces was made and at what time.

The ruling states that the defendant was accompanied on the various visits to the farm and at the entrances and exits of the same; in addition to the fact that more people passed through the room, for which it is reiterated that “not a single piece of evidence is decisive to ensure that the original horns were in the trophy room just before the accused had attended.”

“There are aspects that lead to doubts about whether the table with original rhinoceros horns was in the room when the accused came and that it had not already been replacednot only before, but even after, between the time the defendant carried out the work and the Civil Guard seized the table and subjected it to expertise,” says the resolution, alluding to a “certain lack of control.”

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