Brothers in court over Opit files


THE saga of John Opit and the stolen Cezanne became courtroom drama yesterday as identical twin brothers, a video and a torn cardboard box took centre stage.

Anthony Boylan and Michael Boylan, 47 of Murwillumbah, pleaded not guilty to receiving stolen property.

The stolen property in question is a cardboard box of photocopies of the police brief for the court case on the theft of the alleged Cezanne painting from Mr Opit's Limpinwood home in February 2004.

The Boylan twins claim they found the police brief of evidence in a cardboard box at the Murwillumbah dump last April.

The court was told by police that the documents had been mailed by Murwillumbah police to Lismore court via the Murwillumbah Post Office.

Australia post officer Anthony Arthur Withers said that on April 11 last year police officer Michael Allan had mailed a parcel but there was no record of its destination or of its contents held by the post office.

Mr Opit told the court he received a phone call on April 15, 2004 from a man who wanted $1000 for the police documents claimed to be found at the dump.

The meeting took place later that day after Mr Opit phoned Michael Augustus, a reporter from Channel 10 on the Gold Coast.

Mr Augustus videoed and recorded the meeting in the park to run as a news item.

The video tape, played to the court, showed the brothers meeting with Mr Opit in a Murwillumbah park and asking for $1000 for the documents.

When Mr Opit refused to pay the $1000, negotiations broke down and the brothers drove off.

Detective Donald Townely told the court the police had not made inquiries at the dump about the box and the documents.

The barrister representing the Boylan brothers, Johnathan Priestly, said there was no evidence as to where the documents came from and he would be arguing the goods were abandoned.

"And you can't steal abandoned goods," he said.

The saga will continue on July 5.



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