Granada mayor acquitted of poison spillage

LAST UPDATED: 4 Jan, 2008 @ 17:31
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Sealing method “inadequate,” but accused walk free

THE mayor accused of polluting an important underground water reserve has been found not guilty of environmental offences.

Atarfe council leader Víctor Sánchez and two fellow councillors were accused of allowing 120,000 tonnes of a vegetable-based contaminant to poison the Sierra Elvira aquifer – a Government protected water source used by local farmers.

Also standing trial was the former Granada chief of culture at the Junta de Andalucía, José María Visedo.

Judges at the Penal 2 court in Granada heard how the council of the town authorised the filling in of five huge deposits of alpechin, a sludge-like substance derived from the pressing of olives, without the necessary geological studies.

However, the court found Sánchez, his deputy Tomás Ruiz, the ex-environment councillor Luis Pozo and the regional government delegate not guilty.

The four faced up to 18 months behind bars.

Summing up, the judge stated that although the method of sealing the contaminant was not adequate he said the council officials were not guilty of negligence.

The prosecution had claimed the town hall had not wanted to spend money on the correct extraction of the substance.

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