The cowboy developers who illegally bulldozed a historic 159-year-old pub in inner-Melbourne have been hauled over the coals by an irate judge today, who slapped them with a fine in excess of half a million dollars and made no bones about just how close to jail time they came.
Raman Shaqiri and Stefce Kutlesovski were each fined $120,000, and their collective company – 160 Leicester Pty Ltd – was fined a further $300,000 after a judge found that they did not properly contain asbestos debris from the site of the Corkman Irish Pub in Carlton they demolished without permission, as well as subsequently dumping it at a site owned by the duo in Cairnlea, in the outer north-western suburbs of the city.
Magistrate Richard Pithouse absolutely torched the duo, who reportedly smirked throughout court proceedings, asserting that if it were an option to him, he would’ve handed the duo jailtime for the transgressions. Pithouse noted that both Shaqiri and Kutlesovski had a “cavalier disregard for the law” and should probably have gone to jail for the asbestos dumping, but the legislation currently does not allow for jail sentences to be handed down over such crimes.
The court found that Shaqiri and Kutlesovski left exposed asbestos in the rubble of the site of the Corkman Irish Pub in Carlton, and failed to properly secure it. They also found that rubble transported to Cairnlea and dumped also contained asbestos, and was put on an exposed site just 350 metres from a primary school and child care centre.
The duo ordered work crews in to illegally knock down the historic pub over a weekend in October of 2016, in a move that sparked outrage through the community. The developers were ordered to rebuild the pub virtually brick-by-brick by the State Government, but they refused to do so.
Shaqiri and the company subsequently pleaded guilty to knocking down the pub, however Kutlesovski is fighting the charges which will be heard during a four-day trial scheduled for January. Shaqiri’s sentencing has been delayed until after that hearing takes place.
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Image: Instagram / Melbourne Heritage Register