After a nineteen month long trial, the three judges presiding over the Costa Concordia trial sentenced Captain Francisco Schettino to sixteen (16) years in jail for manslaughter, causing the disaster and abandoning ship. The sentence was broken down as follows; ten (10) years for multiple counts of manslaughter, five (5) years for causing the shipwreck, and one (1) year for abandoning ship. Schettino was also sentenced to one month for making false communications to maritime authorities after the shipwreck.
During closing arguments, breaking down in tears, Schettino demonstrated little concern for the consequences of his recklessness other than feeling sorry for himself, saying that three years ago "I died along with the 32 others." Schettino's defense lawyer said: "In these three years, Schettino has suffered the same as a 30-year sentence." His legal counsel argued that he was made a scapegoat by the cruise line Carnival-Corporation-owned Costa Cruises.
The prosecutor described Schettino as an "idiot" and a "coward."
Costa paid a relatively small fine of 1.1 million dollars to avoid a criminal trial.
The prosecution sought 26 years in jail for Schettino. The defense requested a maximum of 5 years. The judges essentially split the difference with 16 years. Schettino is entitled to an automatic appeal of the sentence and is likely not to serve time in jail during the appeal.
The stock of Costa's parent company, Carnival Corporation, is up today.
You can read our first article about the disaster here: Passengers Panic As Costa Concordia Cruise Ship Begins to Sink.
The question which I keep asking myself is what does the brother and parents of Costa crew member Russel Rebello think of the verdict?
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Photo Credit: Reuters