The big news this weekend in the on-again off-again Costa Concordia trial was the announcement that five Costa employees were sentenced to jail time for manslaughter in the death of 32 Concordia cruise passengers and crew members.
But you will see no photographs of the five men in court in handcuffs because there will be no actual jail time to be served, according to most news accounts. They will be serving suspended sentences. There appears to be no fines levied against the men in question:
Helmsman Jacob Rusli Bin:
Hotel Director Manrico Giampedroni:
Bridge Officer Ciro Ambrosio:
Crisis Coordinator Roberto Ferrarini; and
Bridge Officer Silvia Coronica.
The bridge officers and the helmsman were sentenced to between 20 and 23 months in prison, while the hotel director received a two-year sentence, The crisis coordinator received a 34-month sentence.
Lawyers for the victims expressed their disgust with the sentences:
"The plea bargains are unacceptable, they shouldn’t have been proposed or accepted. These sentences are ridiculous in the face of 32 dead,’ said Gabriele dalle Luche in the Daily Mail, who represents a group of Russian passengers.
The BBC reports that Massimiliano Gabrielli, lawyer for the group Justice for Concordia, compared the "shameful" short length of the sentences to the seven years given to Emilio Fede, who was convicted of procuring prostitutes for former Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi.
The plea bargains leave disgraced cruise ship captain Schettino as the sole defendant.
Many have criticized the legal proceeding, saying that Costa itself should also be on trial. The cruise line previously agreed to a fine of $1.3 million to avoid all criminal charges.
As soon as the trial began, it was interrupted by a national strike by Italian lawyers. The trial has been again delayed after the lawyers for Schettino requested an opportunity to conduct tests on the cruise ship which remains capsized in the port of Giglio.
The trial itself has been a bizarre spectacle. It is taking place in a large theater which may be an appropriate venue for such drama.
Captain Schettino has appeared in his sporty blue coat and sunglasses. His alleged paramour, Moldovan dancer and former Costa hostess Domnica Cemortan, made an appearance to support Schettino. She was wearing attire suitable to a cocktail party and disrespectful to the dead passengers and crew members, while posing for the cameras. Her appearance added to the scandalous nature of the proceedings, given the fact that she is suing Costa for hundreds of thousands of dollars, according to newspapers, "for the damage to her reputation after it became known that Mr Schettino, who is married with young children, had wined and dined her aboard the Concordia."
The soap opera is expected to resume in September.
Schettino: The Independent