Flanked by two lawyers and an advocate, two young men accused of stealing Buddy the penguin from Bayworld last week made a brief first appearance in court yesterday.
Adrian Doman, 22, and Emile du Plessis, 18, appeared in the Port Elizabeth Magistrate’s Court in the wake of huge public interest and social media activity regarding the fate of the three-year-old penguin after it disappeared from the complex more than a week ago.
Buddy – an African penguin and the father of two chicks, one of which has since died – was taken from his enclosure in the early hours of last Wednesday, with staff only realising the next day that he was gone.
He has still not been found after it emerged that he had been released at Pollok Beach.
The accused, supported by family and friends, looked remorseful as they sat in the public gallery waiting to be called forward.
Although the details were not read out in court, Du Plessis and Doman are facing charges of theft, contravention of marine conservation regulations and trespassing.
They handed themselves over at the Humewood police station early this week.
Magistrate Sanjani Naidoo said the case would be postponed pending further investigation and a decision by the Director of Public Prosecutions.
The men were released on a police warning and will appear in court again on November 3.
The legal representatives for Du Plessis and Doman said afterwards the two were “too traumatised” to speak to the media.
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