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Supreme court upholds plea bargains in Concordia shipwreck

Captain still on trial

31 January, 17:41
Supreme court upholds plea bargains in Concordia shipwreck (ANSA) - Rome, January 31 - Italy's supreme Cassation Court on Friday confirmed a plea bargain given to five staff members in the shipwreck of the Costa Concordia cruise liner that killed 32 people two years ago off the coast of Tuscany.

Prosecutors in Florence had contested a judge's lighter jail sentences given in July 2013 to crisis-management chief Roberto Ferrarini (two years, 10 months), hotel quarters director Manrico Giampedroni (two and a half years), first officer Ciro Ambrosio (one year, 11 months), officer Silvia Coronica (one year, six months) and helmsman Jacob Rusli Bin (one year, eight months), each accused of multiple manslaughter.

Prison terms of less than three years in Italy are not usually served in custody but instead, with alternative punishments such as house arrest or community service.

Prosecutors had argued the five did not earn their plea bargain, "having made no particular contribution to the investigations" with their "generic testimony".

The former captain of the doomed ship, Francesco Schettino, is on trial for multiple manslaughter and dereliction of duty, and could face 20 years in prison if he is found guilty.

Earlier this month, a group of 30 shipwreck survivors staged a sit-in at Schettino's trial hearing and a lawyer for the group demanded greater accountability for Costa Cruises, saying that the company bore more responsibility than Schettino for the disaster.

Schettino is the only person standing criminal trial.