March 12 2014 Latest news:
by Stephen Moore
Wednesday, January 30, 2013
Two Maida Vale men accused of stealing a giant egg designed by Jude Law’s sister have walked free from court after bungling prosecutors failed to prepare the case in time.
Lounes Mazous, 23, of Marlborough Place, and Darius Ravanshad, 27, of Warrington Gardens, said they took the £3,000 sculpture for a joke after finding it lying damaged in a gutter in New Bond Street after a night out on February 25 last year.
The egg, called Hatch, was specially created by artist Natasha Law, and was among 210 made by artists and placed around London for the Fabergé Big Egg Hunt.
The court heard it was ‘damaged beyond repair’ and cost £2,000 to remake, while another £14,000 was spent on beefed-up security to protect its replacement. The new egg was later sold at auction for £3,000.
Prosecutor Louise Thomas had previously told the court how a witness called police after watching two men take the artwork and put it in the back of their car, which officers traced the next day. The court heard Mr Ravanshad had told police he had picked the egg up from the street because it looked nice, and Mr Mazous claimed he was too hungover to remember why he had taken it, but denied removing it from its plinth.
Mr Mazous and Mr Ravanshad, who has started his own menswear label, denied a charge of theft and had elected trial by jury.
But the matter was then thrown out of court after prosecutors were unable to prepare the case for a second time.
They had already been labelled “reprehensible in the extreme” at a hearing on January 10 for failing to offer an explanation as to why they were not ready to proceed. Magistrates then decided it was “in the public interest” to give the CPS one last chance.