Developers who illegally knocked down a historic Melbourne pub and were then jailed for not turning it into a park have apologised, but failed in their bid to overturn a hefty fine and jail time for contempt of court.
Stefce Kutlesovski and Raman Shaqiri say they have learned a salutary lesson from their actions in demolishing the Corkman Hotel without permits in 2016.
A legal saga that has dragged on since October that year continued on Thursday when the duo and their company 160 Leicester failed in an appeal to overturn a hefty fine and jail time for contempt of court.
They were ordered to pay $1.076m in fines and costs for the demolition of the Irish pub, and ordered to clear the Carlton site and turn it into a public space.
Kutlesovski and Shaqiri were jailed for a month and their company was fined $150,000 after failing to do so.
They were also ordered to pay $250,000 in costs.
As part of their appeal they apologised for their contempts.
“We have now completely rectified the situation and the orders are now complied with and the park is open to the public and for the great benefit to the community,” they said in a statement read by their lawyers.
“We are repentant and recognise what we have done wrong. We have learned a salutary lesson and this behaviour will not be repeated.”
They also argued the sentence they received was excessive.
But the Court of Appeal rejected the claim, saying they were the only realistic orders that could have been made.
The judges found the contempts were wilful and deliberately defiant and the original tribunal had noted Shaqiri had showed “arrogance and lack of respect for the law”.
They said the apology had no relevance given they were not re-sentencing the developers.