Jason Evans, the Wales on-line Court and crime reporter said about Enzo's
"Tree felling charge against Enzo's Homes boss 'properly brought'
Enzo Sauro and his firm Enzo's Homes are trying to overturn their convictions for destroying 73 protected trees in Swansea's
Penllergaer Valley Woods
A judge has ruled that the boss of a house building firm was properly charged over the destruction of scores of protected trees near a Swansea building site.
In 2019 Enzo Sauro and his firm Enzo's Homes were fined a total of £300,000 for illegally felling and clearing 73 trees next to a site they were developing. The tree surgeon who actually wielded the chainsaw, contractor Arwyn Morgan, was also fined £120,000.
All the trees – including an historic Giant Redwood which was chopped down – were covered by tree preservation orders (TPOs) issued by Swansea Council on land around the former Lliw Valley Council headquarters in Penllergaer. Enzo's Homes were redeveloping the plot of land into a housing development called Mansion Gardens.
Sauro and the firm are trying to get those convictions and resultant fines overturned at an appeal being heard at Swansea Crown Court this week.
Day two of the hearing saw a ruling by Judge Christopher Vosper QC on a legal submission from Sauro's barrister Adam Vaitilingam QC.
Mr Vaitilingam had argued that what his client had been charged with, and convicted of, was not covered by the particular section of the Town and County Planning Act which the prosecution had used.
After hearing arguments from Mr Vaitilingam and from Jonathan Rees QC for the respondents Judge Vosper said that while those who had drafted the charge may have had in mind the sections of the act which applied to England but which had not been enacted in Wales that was not determinative.
He said the case against Sauro had been brought on the basis that he had "caused or permitted" the contractor Morgan to contravene the TPOs and, given that, the charge under s210(1) had been "properly brought".
He rejected the submission of Sauro's barrister that a different section of the Act, s210(4), should have been used instead.
Mr Vaitilingam told the court that it was the appellants' case that the felling of the trees was a "mistake" – and that the mistake was down to the contractor Morgan.
The appeal, which is expected to last all week, continues."
Our reporter indicated that the case would continue next month