Developers who illegally demolished the Corkman Irish Pub in Carlton say they shouldn’t be jailed for 30 days for thumbing their noses at the courts, due to the ‘beautiful’ $ 1.6 million park they set up in place of the demolition site.
Stefce Kutlesovski and Raman Shaqiri are appealing their one-month sentence for flouting orders from the Victoria Civil and Administrative Court to turn the demolition area into a park by February last year.
The couple reduced the site to rubble in 2016 after demolishing the 159-year-old Leicester Street pub without any planning or planning permission.
Planning Minister Richard Wynne and the City of Melbourne successfully filed contempt proceedings against them in Victoria Civil and Administrative Court last December.
Tribunal President Michelle Quigley fined their company, 160 Leicester Pty Ltd, $ 150,000; ordered the couple to pay $ 250,000 in legal fees; and, in a rare gesture, sentenced them to one month in prison.
Shaqiri and Kutlesovski requested leave to appeal their prison sentence on Wednesday to the Court of Appeal, but dropped their plans to appeal the conviction. Their QC, David Grace, accepting contempt was serious.
But because the park was eventually built, Mr Grace said the contempt had been ‘served’ and at such a cost that a prison sentence, which he said was patently excessive punishment, was not required. no longer needed. He said $ 1.6 million including GST was spent on the park.
“Compliance has been achieved at a considerable cost,” said Mr. Grace.