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Court judgement that opens up the road to the beach
The court also ruled that it was an “urgent matter” because of the nature of the claim in that there is a continuous breach against the rights of the claimants and the citizens. This means that the decision must be comply with immediately.
The thinking behind the ruling was that the original fencing (barbed wire) is deemed to be temporary therefore by moving it should not create any problems in the event of an overturned decision by a subsequent court order.
The owner could simply remove and place the barbed wire in another position!
It was obvious that the judge, the young Magistrate Mrs Hariklia Balaska, has demonstrated that she acted with the public interest in mind by ensuring that the road would open immediately.
The multipage and strongly documented decision of Mrs Balaska, exposes with detail her legal considerations and that is why it could become a precedent for many similar cases in the wider area of Ermionida and more specifically in the region of Agios Aimilianos.
One of the main elements of the case that lead to the decision was the “historical basis”. For instance, it was mentioned in detail that there has been a road there and access to the beach since 1970, in fact the road has been paved with asphalt by the Municipality of Kranidi in 2008, with no objection by the surrounding owners. However, the shipowner’s defence did not corroborate this story.
We have mentioned the matter of the blockage of the beach in previous posts last winter. More specifically, we have stressed that the provocative way and the audacity of the shipowner’s actions have provoked the indignation of the residents of the larger area surrounding Agios Aimilianos.
His actions extended to the point that he removed part of the asphalt in order to completely block access to the beach, furthermore, he planted fruit bearing trees in an attempt to legalise his actions! It was then, that several organisations and other community bodies were alerted and started investigating the legality of these actions, as well as the titles of ownership of the particular plot. Following a legal investigation it was confirmed that the title deeds were legal, however, the fencing off and the private use of the space were not..
However, despite the mobilisation of the authorities and the referral of the case to the district attorney in Nafplion, the reaction of the shipowner was surprisingly rude. It was also astonishing that the authorities refrained from acting and did not dare apply the law in order to remove the fence. The inaction of the authorities has been historical in the area in other similar cases and this has been raising in the past and continues to raise a more general issue of adequacy and legitimacy of the authorities of the region.
The given court decision is an important step for the citizens, but the development of the case and the rest of the area will of course be judged at the main trial, where any civil and any potential criminal liability of the offender should be examined. Throughout the process, the attitude of the Municipality of Ermionida has been particularly interesting and it has raised many questions. Naturally the Municipality has supported the claim against the offender However, the impression that was given was that the Municipality “was led” into action rather than leading the claim as it should in order to protect the rights of its citizens.
The history of the case
13 June, date for the trial for the injunction against the trespassing at Kounoupi
Three associations and the Municipality against Fraggos
There have been two fruitless successive meetings between Mr Fraggos’ representatives and lawyers and engineers that represent among others our Community’s interests, in an attempt to find a compromising solution on the matter of the trespassing and the blocking of the access to the Kounoupi beach….
.... Following the meetings our side has proceeded to filing for injunctive relief. The date for the trial has been set on 13 June 2013 at the County Court Massitos (Kranidi). During the first trial the application for the injunction did not get positive reception by the Magistrate, probably because there are no major reasons for it – as the law demands – but also because there was no possibility of examining the case in detail, with witness presence, and other written evidence.
Our opponents were surprised by our initiatives who have tried by various means to delay or postpone the trial date. It seems that it has also surprised the Municipality, which have been fairly inactive and had not even raised the matter before the Council. Despite all this, the Municipality, at the last minute, has declared that it will side with us and has provided their own lawyer, who seems to be “led” by the organised reactions of the residents and the associations.
It is worth mentioning (as we have conclude from the recent developments) that the opponents (Fraggos’s side) are relying on the non-punishment or the non-application of the law culture that has been the case in similar situation of beach blocking by other wealthy land owners of the region. In particular, Mr Fraggos’ representatives are eager to find out whether other neighbouring proprietors such as Mr Livanos and various others, would be involved in the process and depending on the outcome of the trial, they would be forced to demolish the illegal fences and free the area to allow public access to the beach.