Thursday, July 18, 2013

Concordia Captain's Trial Finally Underway

 Captain Francesco Schettino's
Trial Finally Begins

Eighteen months following the deadly accident off the coast of the Island of Giglio in Italy, the trial of  Captain Francesco Schettino has finally begun in the tiny Italian village of Grosseto.  The courtroom is in the local theater since the normal facilities would be too small.

Last week, the trial was delayed due to a nationwide strike by lawyers: Captain Schettino Gets Day in Court or Not

The entire world is watching as this trial continues.  Schettino is accused of three criminal charges: involuntary manslaughter for the deaths; causing a maritime disaster; and causing personal injury to 150 people who were badly hurt in the accident.

If convicted, he could face up to 20 years in prison.  It is expected that if that does occur, his lawyers would request that be served under house arrest arrangements since there would be no risk of him repeating the offense (his captain days are over).

In addition to the criminal charges, there are 250 civil actions filed against the captain, all of which will be represented at the hearing.  Among the actions is one by Costa Crociere, the owner of the Concordia, which is suing the captain for causing the accident and destroying the Concordia.  Immediately after the accident, the cruise line distanced themselves from the captain, clearly indicating that they would take these actions against him.

29 October 13 Summary

Moldovan dancer, Domnica Cemortan, who was on the bridge when the Costa Concordia cruise ship crashed into a reef near Italy, killing 32 people, has testified at the captain's manslaughter trial that the two were lovers.

20 July 13 Summary

Four other officers and the crisis coordinator for the line will also be on trial this week.  They filed similar plea bargains in May and their hearing is to  begin this Saturday.

A court in Italy has convicted five people of manslaughter over the Costa Concordia shipwreck off Giglio island which killed 32 people in January 2012.  The plea bargains were accepted by the court.
Prison sentences ranged from 18 months to 34 months.  Five Sentenced in Costa Concordia Shipwreck

19 July 13 Summary

Just two days after the trial of Costa Concordia captain Francesco Schettino opened, it was adjourned until September 23 for the Italian court system's summer break.

17 July 13 Summary

Yesterday, defense lawyers for Schettino entered a plea bargain request where he would plead guilty in exchange for a 3 year 5 months sentence.  The prosecution voiced  opposition to the request, which is likely to be turned down by the court in a few days.

Names of the victims and how they died were read into the court's record as the trial began.

Ongoing Coverage

Watch this post for updates on the legal proceedings.

We have been covering the entire Costa Concordia accident, including the cleanup and legal proceedings.   For complete details, see our anchor article:  Costa Concordia Listing after Deadly Accident

Meanwhile, salvage operations continue.  It is now expected that the parbuckling project can be completed by early September, 2013.   See our article:  Costa Concordia Salvage Begins

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