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Man cleared of knifepoint robbery in Dundee high rise tusk trial

Marcin Szcezerbinski went on trial at Perth Sheriff Court.
Marcin Szcezerbinski went on trial at Perth Sheriff Court.

A man accused of robbing an antiques dealer of thousands of pounds worth of ornamental tusks has walked free from court, after a jury found charges against him not proven.

Marcin Szcezerbinski went on trial accused of stealing from a Good Samaritan who had given him shelter at Dundee’s Dudhope Court.

It was alleged the 35-year-old robbed Jaroslaw Szafranowski, who had offered him a roof over his head for a few nights after finding him soaked, cold and without accommodation.

After two days of evidence, jurors at Perth Sheriff Court were asked to decide on a reduced charge that alleged Szcezerbinski assaulted Mr Szafranowski, 54, struck him with a chair and repeatedly brandished a knife, before robbing him of a laptop, a mobile phone and ornamental tusks.

The jury took nearly three hours to return a majority verdict of not proven.

Sheriff Alistair Carmichael told Szcezerbinski he was free to leave the dock.

Szcezerbinski, listed on court papers as an inmate at HMP Perth, thanked the sheriff via an interpreter as he left the room.

Conflicting accounts

Mr Szafranowski had told jurors Szcezerbinski had surprised him by entering his flat on the morning of September 26, 2020.

He alleged Szcezerbinski drank half a bottle of whisky, then took a kitchen knife with a 20cm blade and used it to destroy antiques, breaking the handle in the process.

Porcelain collector Mr Szafranowski added Szcezerbinski then fetched a second knife and brandished it, so he told his former lodger to take what he wanted and leave.

However, Szcezerbinski said he had been given permission to take whatever he liked from flat because Mr Szafranowski was unable to provide payment for antiques Szcezerbinski had retrieved from “beside skips and bins”.

He said: “I offered that I would take the phone, the laptop and the tusks.

“I did not hear anything to the contrary.”

The resin tusks at the centre of the dispute were described as 50cm tall and inscribed with the American Constitution.

They were said to be worth up to £7,000.

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