A year has passed since the indictment was issued regarding the controversial construction of the castle on the edge of the Notecka Forest, and it is still not known when and where the trial will begin. The Poznań courts did not want to deal with the case, then it was decided that it would be held in Oborniki. Now the local court has asked the Supreme Court to refer her to yet another court. He explains that it is for the “good of justice”.
The investment became famous in the summer of 2018. At that time, the Central Anticorruption Bureau began examining the correctness of the decisions issued in relation to the construction of the castle in Stobnica on the edge of the Notecka Forest, in the Natura 2000 area. The investor is the Poznań-based DJT company.
In August 2018, the Minister of the Environment instructed the General Director for Environmental Protection to initiate an urgent inspection of the construction decision process. The case was also referred to the prosecutor’s office.
At the end of December last year, the District Prosecutor’s Office in Poznań filed indictments with the court against six people associated with the construction site – officials and representatives of the investor. They were accused, inter alia, of certifying untruths, failing to fulfill their obligations and carrying out construction works that endanger the environment and carrying it out in violation of the provisions of the Environmental Protection Act.
Stop 1: Poznań-Grunwald
Initially, the indictment was filed with the District Court of Poznań-Grunwald and Jeżyce in Poznań. However, this court decided that it was not locally competent to hear the case.
And in January he transferred the case to the court in Oborniki.
– The decision indicated that the competent court was the District Court in Oborniki, as the acts covered by the indictment were committed in the territory of two courts: Grunwald and Jeżyce in Poznań and the District Court in Oborniki. Generally, the court of the place where the crime was committed is competent, but if the crime was committed in the district of several courts, the competent court is the court in which some activities were initiated as part of the preparatory proceedings, explained judge Aleksander Brzozowski, spokesman for the District Court in Poznań.
He added that the court in Poznań decided that, since the notification of the crime had been received by the prosecutor’s office in Oborniki, the local court had jurisdiction to hear the case.
Stop 2: Oborniki
In March, the court in Oborniki initiated a dispute over powers. He indicated that the prosecutor’s office in Oborniki had not taken any action in the case of Stobnica, but had immediately forwarded the notification to the District Prosecutor’s Office in Poznań, which had initiated proceedings.
– This dispute was resolved in April by the District Court in Poznań, which indicated the District Court Poznań Stare Miasto in Poznań as competent – said judge Brzozowski.
It is a court in the area of which the District Prosecutor’s Office in Poznań is located.
Stop 3: Poznań-Old Town
But the Poznań-Old Town District Court did not want to lead this trial either. He argued that no offenses included in the indictment had been committed in the area of his operation. That is why the case should be examined by the court in Oborniki.
He won the dispute over powers in October. – The District Court in Oborniki was indicated by the District Court as competent to hear the case – Judge Brzozowski said.
Stop 4: Oborniki again
However, the District Court in Oborniki once again appealed. Now he applied to the Supreme Court to refer her to another, equal court, “for the sake of the justice system”.
– This is no longer a dispute over powers, because the District Court indicated the District Court in Oborniki as competent to hear the case. But the court in Oborniki decided to use another option. Temporarily, he cannot initiate another dispute over powers, because no new circumstances have emerged that would indicate the jurisdiction of a court other than the court in Oborniki, judge Brzozowski said.
Stop 5: Warsaw
Until the motion of the court in Oborniki is examined by the Supreme Court, the trial in the case of the castle in Stobnica cannot begin. – Only when the Supreme Court decides whether the case is to be pending in Oborniki and does not consider this request, then the court in Oborniki will have to proceed with the proceedings – emphasized judge Brzozowski. The Supreme Court may also appoint another court.
Brzozowski was unable to judge how long it would take for the Supreme Court to review the motion of the court from Oborniki. The Supreme Court’s decision will be final and cannot be appealed against.
RDOŚ withdrew its decision
The construction of the castle in Stobnica is an investment of the Poznań-based DJT company carried out in the Natura 2000 area. The facility, which is being built on the edge of the Notecka Forest, is to have 14 above-ground floors and a tower of several dozen meters.
In 2015, the Regional Directorate for Environmental Protection in Poznań decided that the investment would not have a negative impact on the environment.
In August 2018, the Minister of the Environment instructed the General Director for Environmental Protection to initiate an urgent inspection of the construction decision-making process. The case was referred to the prosecutor’s office and the CBA began investigating it. At the end of April 2019, the Regional Directorate for Environmental Protection in Poznań announced that it had repealed the decision of May 2015 specifying the conditions for carrying out works for the project consisting in the construction of the castle in Stobnica and raised objections to its implementation. In 2015, RDOŚ decided that the investment will not have a negative impact on the environment.
The reason for the resumption of the proceedings and the annulment of the previous decision and for the objection to the implementation of the project was the disclosure, during the implementation of the investment, of the circumstances relating to the area transformed for the purposes of the project, which differed from the area of approximately 1.7 hectares previously declared by the investor. According to RDOŚ, the actual area of the investment exceeded 2 hectares. The regional management emphasized that this had an impact on the classification of the project as “having a potential significant impact on the environment, for which an environmental decision is required, which the investor did not submit in the course of the original procedure”.
On July 31, 2019, GDOŚ upheld the decision of the Regional Directorate of Environmental Protection in Poznań. The investor appealed to the court on this matter. As a result of the investor’s appeal against the decision of GDOŚ, the Provincial Administrative Court in Warsaw, in its judgment of March 11, last year, quashed the decision. On June 30, 2020, GDOŚ filed a cassation complaint against the ruling of the Provincial Administrative Court to the Supreme Administrative Court.
In mid-July last year, seven people were detained in connection with the investment – officials and representatives of the company building the castle in Stobnica. According to the Poznań prosecutor’s office, the building permit was issued despite the non-compliance of the construction design with the local spatial development plan, with technical and construction regulations, and despite the lack of opinions, agreements, permits and checks required by construction law.
At the end of December last year, the District Prosecutor’s Office in Poznań brought to the court indictments against six people related to the construction of the so-called castle in Stobnica. The allegations concern, inter alia, the certification of untruths, failure to fulfill obligations and conducting construction works that are environmentally hazardous and conducted in violation of the provisions of the Environmental Protection Act. The accused, officials and representatives of the construction company in Stobnica did not plead guilty.
In August, after examining the appeals of the District Prosecutor’s Office in Poznań and the Regional Director for Environmental Protection in Poznań and the investor, the Chief Inspector of Building Supervision, canceled the construction permit issued in 2015 by the Oborniki staroste and revoked the decision of the Wielkopolska voivode of 2020 challenged in this case. Work on the construction of the so-called castle in Stobnica has been suspended. The investor appealed against the decision of the Chief Inspector of Construction Supervision to the Provincial Administrative Court in Warsaw.
Main photo source: TVN 24