More than 10 years have passed since a landslide occurred in the Český středohoří on a roughly 200-meter section on the under construction D8 highway.
The event has since turned into a legal battle over billions in damages and who is responsible for the huge financial damages.
Specifically, if the builders and designers of the highway are to blame due to an improperly executed cut of the highway into the landscape, or if the slope was torn off due to the quarry of the company Kámen Zbraslav and the improperly located dump of broken stones and the fact that the work in the quarry affected the drainage of water from the slope.
The court’s help in determining the culprit was also the opinions of forensic experts. And it is the reviews that point to the quarry’s responsibility that can lose some of their weight.
The Supreme Administrative Court finally confirmed a ten thousand fine to expert Jiří Barták, a professor at Prague’s Czech Technical University, for not preparing the report himself.
“However, the complainant did not state in the expert assessments that he hired a consultant for the expert assessment, which sub-questions he entrusted to him and for what reasons. Thus, he did not fulfill the legal condition for applying the exemption from the obligation to perform expert work personally,” reads the autumn judgment, against which there are no further remedies.
However, there was more at stake: the Ministry of Justice, which supervises the work of experts, in fact also contradicted the fact that the contract for the assessment from the state was actually received by the company Geotec, which, however, does not have the necessary “round stamp”. And the company only subsequently invited and employed expert Jiří Barták.
First an order for an opinion, then the necessary knowledge
The company Geotec defended itself during the proceedings before the Ministry of Justice, as Nauzal described last year, precisely because the report was drawn up by a geotechnician and a forensic expert with the appropriate stamp, i.e. the already mentioned Jiří Barták.
And Professor Barták, in turn, described that the Geotec company actually only helped him with mathematical calculations in the geotechnical program FLAC, which helps, for example, miners.
However, after studying the participants and studying the documents, the ministerial officials came to the conclusion that in fact the author of the assessment is the company Geotec, which also received the contract from the state. And, according to the officials, she then hired Professor Barták after receiving this order to “cover up” his name for the fact that she herself does not have a round stamp. In other words, she first received an order from the state and only then was she looking for someone with expert authorization to help her.
“From the evidence presented, it appears that the employment contract was concluded only for the purpose of covering up the fact that the accused cannot perform expert work and prepare expert opinions,” the ministry officials decided in a document that Nauzal obtained and described at the beginning of last year.
Both the company and the expert Barták stated at the time that the fine and the decision that the opinion was created by “unauthorized performance of expert activity” had no influence on the conclusions about the causes of the landslide.
Even the Directorate of Roads and Highways told Seznam Zprávám last year that it would further argue the report in court.
On the contrary, attorney Pavel Sedláček, who represented the Kámen Zbraslav quarry in the dispute, was convinced that expert opinions must now have less weight in court. “Because it is now confirmed that Geotec was never qualified to make such assessments. This means that the testimonials cannot be completely credible in terms of their probative value,” said Sedláček.
During last year, the District Court for Prague 5 issued a verdict in which the main cause of the landslide was identified as the heavy rainfall that affected the area. The landslide then triggered the cut of the highway, and at the same time its impact also worsened the operation of the quarry.
As part of the so-called provisional judgment, the judge determined that the fault of the quarry is “up to ten percent” and the exact amount is to be determined by another court.