Spanish Wheels of Justice Turn Slowly
The Spanish Supreme Court recently dismissed an appeal by PM Narciso’s against the ruling of the Superior Court of Justice of Madrid (TSJM).
This ratified that of the Investigating Court No. 5 of Majadahonda, which sentenced him in 2020 to three years and eight months of imprisonment for a crime against the environment by accumulating nearly 8,000 tyres on a plot located in a Majadahonda industrial estate.
According to the sentence, costs were also imposed in addition to rejecting the appeal. There is no possibility of recourse against the ruling.
The convicted man accumulated numerous used tyres on that plot and allowed third parties to deposit them in exchange for payment without municipal authorisation or an environmental impact assessment and without having adopted any environmental protection measures.
The accumulated volume rose from 50 tyres in February 2000 to almost 8,000 in 2008, when the Ministry of the Environment fined him 15,000 euros for abandoning non-hazardous waste without authorisation.
At that time, the offender was told to remove the tyres within a month. Six years later, he was still collecting tyres at the unlicensed site.
The fines were ignored, leading to a serious infraction in February 2015 and another fine of 12,000 euros and the obligation, again, to remove the tyres within 30 days.
At that time, there would be about 3,000 tyres. The businessman also ignored this fine, and in July 2016, he continued with 1,500 square metres of the plot filled with tyres, reaching heights of up to 3 metres in some points “without fire breaks“.
“Substantial damage would have been generated in the quality of the air, and the health of people would have been seriously endangered, as carcinogenic substances were released into the air,” the judgement text continues.
That is why the local authority proceeded to withdraw them in September 2017. A criminal case was opened in the Investigating Court No. 5 of Majadahonda, which resulted in a sentence of 3 years and eight months in prison, a fine of 18 months with a daily fee of six euros and disqualification for two years from engaging in waste disposal work.
The offender appealed the sentence to the TSJM, which found against him; he then appealed to the Supreme Court, which has settled the judgement, ratifying the prison sentence.
It is worth noting that from the first notification of a breach of the rules in 2000, it has taken until 2022 for the full course of the prosecution to come to a close – that is a long and slow process.
This case exemplifies that even in a country with two effective Extended Producer Resonsibility agencies – SIGNUS Ecovalor and TNU, there are still businesses trying to operate scams outside the scheme. Criminals will always find a way.