The trial will continue when the missing documents are found

On Friday, the Koper District Court reopened the trial due to the devastating fire that broke out on October 22, 2017, during a firefight in the Livade university campus and caused EUR 1 million in damage. The prosecutor’s office accuses Andrej Gorjup and Ivo Blažević of the crime of causing danger during construction, but both accusations are firmly denied.

The trial Andrej Gorjupwho was the director of Optima OSN Inženiring and Optima Studio engineering companies, and Ivo Blažević, the retired director and co-owner of the Sežana company Elita IB, started in the Koper district court already last autumn. Judge Miha Špilar announced at the time that the trial would resume once the missing documentation was found. It concerns several folders of important documentation, which the police seized during the investigation at the Izola administrative unit.

But at the beginning of Friday’s hearing, Judge Špilar said that the documentation was not found. The prosecution submitted it to the court together with a proposal for individual investigative actions. A lawyer Franc Rojkowho defends Gorjup, emphasized that the court should first obtain all relevant documentation. “Until there is complete documentation in the file, the accused cannot defend himself,” is convinced by the lawyer, who added that it is a violation of the right to defense.

Defense: “Something stinks here”

The court will try to obtain the missing (lost) documentation from the University of Primorska (UP), which is otherwise the injured party in this case and is represented by a lawyer Velimir Cugmas. The university claims 2.62 million euros from the defendants. Due to the fire, she could not use the building for several years, she had to rehabilitate the building and until last year rented replacement premises…

“The fact that several folders of basic documentation disappear from the file, in itself raises doubts about the adequacy of the management of this process and leads to the conclusion that something stinks,” she was a fierce lawyer Maja Koršič Potočnikwho defends Blažević.

“The accusations that something stinks are unfounded, the prosecution does not selectively submit documentation or conceal it,” the state prosecutor replied to the lawyer Ika Lebanon. She explained that the prosecution handed over all the documentation to the court. The judge then added that the documentation was not listed in the electronic register.

Gorjup emphasized in his defense that the facility was taken over from the previous contractor (GPG Grosuplje), which went bankrupt. In 2011, they concluded a contract with UP on the execution of electrical installations and had six subcontractors. The facility was handed over at the end of 2015. According to him, during the technical inspection, only a few minor errors were found, which were corrected. After the facility was handed over, there were many new contractors who furnished the facility. He does not know when they interfered with the facility’s infrastructure.

Burned down by agreement due to force majeure

He also mentioned that the facility is located in the flood-problematic area of ​​Izola. “On October 22, 2017, a natural disaster occurred,” he added. From the Izola Commune, he received information about 120-year-old water, which is supposed to be 247 liters of water per square meter. More than 3,000 shots are also said to have been fired at that time. He added that he was not listed as the responsible manager of the works, for which he had neither the knowledge nor the authority. “The University and Optima signed an agreement according to which the fire was the result of force majeure and therefore neither party is responsible for it, he also stated.

“I did not commit the alleged crime, I will prove it,” Blaževič answered the judge Špilar. He will complete the defense once he has studied in detail the documentation he requested and which is in the court file. “It is undeniable that the building was struck by lightning, which also happened a year before… The main cause of the fire was lightning,” he is sure.

He also said that when they took over the facility, they pointed out certain errors. They were removed only during rehabilitation after the fire. Thus, the unit was moved from the flat roof to the ecological island, and the main electrical cabinet was moved from the basement to the ground floor. He also explained that he was not the responsible supervisor.

The NFL has ruled out lightning as the cause of the fire

The first witnesses were questioned on Friday. First, questions were answered by a crime expert who conducted a tour after the fire. They found that there was a short circuit in the main electrical cabinet. Water collected on the flat roof, which overflowed into the shaft and flowed to the electrical cabinet in the basement. “The center of the fire was in this closet,” he explained.

When asked if they found any deficiencies, he replied that the shaft between the floors should have been sealed to prevent water from seeping through or spreading fire, but this was not the case. An expert from the National Forensic Laboratory concluded that the cause of the fire was a short circuit and that the breakthrough occurred due to water ingress. Lightning was ruled out as the cause of the fire. If it came to that, an NFL pundit would probably figure it out.

The head of the fire brigade also testified on Friday, who explained that they got the information about the fire in the building from a foreign student who reported in English that the building was on fire. When they reached the campus, the facility was closed and completely engulfed in smoke. On Friday, he did not remember whether someone unlocked their door or whether they had to break in. Firefighters entered the building with breathing apparatus and used a thermal camera to determine where the fire was. First they had to disconnect the fuses, but even before that they had to find the locker, which was not properly marked. The fire was extinguished, ventilated and finally the entire building was inspected, explained the head of the intervention. They used 4000 liters of water. The trial will continue with the hearing of witnesses on Friday.

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