Archivi tag: criminal trial

Seconda udienza preliminare 21.05.2019 – ammesse tutte le parti civili nel processo Norman Atlantic

TGR 21 maggio 2019 – Norman Atlantic, parenti vittime e sopravvissuti ammessi al processo penale

Dear Clients, on Tuesday May 21 2019 the second preliminary hearing of the criminal trial on the Norman Atlantic disaster was held in the Bitonto bunker hearingroom.

Let’s start by saying that ALL our clients were admitted as a civil party, and that this important result was by no means obvious or automatic or simple to obtain.

In fact, in the time from the previous hearing, in which we filed our request for the appearance in court, and this last hearing, the judge had assigned to the defendants an intermediate term for the filing of written memoirs with which to illustrate their exceptions and objections to the request to enter the process by passengers and family members, but also organizations and associations. Well, we can say that surely the lawyers (of Anek above all), have not been spared at all (and it must be said that they could also have done it with greater esteem and respect for the victims, as for example Costa Crociere did in the process on the sinking of the Concordia, which raised formal exceptions only against the cities and associations but not also about the constitution of a civil part of the passengers), but on the contrary they have once again (as in the civil trial) put into play every possible and imaginable procedural question, constraint of national and community legislation and of captious exception to try to prevent at any cost the request of the victims to participate in the criminal trial as parties in all aspects, and not only as spectators. Constituting as a civil party, in fact, allows the injured party from a committed crime, in addition to making a request to the judge for compensation on their damage suffered in relation to such conduct, but also play an important role as a private prosecution alongside the public one, exercised by the public prosecutor’s office, in the common search for truth and justice through the conviction of all those responsible for the disaster. Needless to say, the army of defendants’ lawyers would have preferred to have the trial without our unfriendly presence in the courtroom, and already the first heated controversy took place in the courtroom among lawyers, in a clearly nervousness due to the gravity of the charges, on one side, and the delicacy of the positions and the compensatory values ​​requested on behalf of the clients, on the other.

In their memoirs and subsequent discussion in the hearing room, the defenders of the Greek shipowner, but not only them, tried to enforce the rules of Reg. (EC) 392/2009 in the criminal trial which, as you now by know, provides (art 16, point 3 of the Athens Convention) a two-year preclusional term, which led us prudently to initiate a civil lawsuit in Bari in December 2016, thus claiming, in a very insidious way, that today it would not be possible for us to validly transfer the compensation action from the civil to the criminal trial, due to some alleged forfeiture and other (alleged) defects matured during the civil trial. Nevertheless the defendants’ defenses claimed that the nature and legitimacy of the requests was not adequately demonstrated and documented.

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Annunci

PRIMA UDIENZA PENALE – 06 maggio 2019

On May 6, 2019, the first preliminary hearing of the Norman Atlantic criminal case was held in the Bitonto bunker room near Bari. The large number of trial parties (public prosecutors and consultants, lawyers for the many defendants, civil lawyers and members of the harbor master’s office, ministries officies and security, as well as journalists and press) made it necessary to move the hearing to a separate branch of the Bari courthouse, which therefore on each day provided for in the calendar set by the judge, will be opened and dedicated specifically to the needs of our process. The only defendant present in the courtroom was Carlo Visentini, owner of the Norman Atlantic’s company, while no member of the crew or the Greek company decided to attend the first court hearing, despite the regularity of the notifications, and therefore the criminal trial against them will continue without any delay, in absentia.

Even among the victims no one was present, but this is obviously due to the fact that for the most part they are people living far from Bari, mainly Greece and Albania, but also because of the fact that these are the first bars of the preliminary hearing , characterized by formal procedural activity and of little substantial interest for the people who were on board the ship. Furthermore – as we expected – the families of the victims and the passengers who filed to be a civil part in the criminal trial are very few compared to the number of passengers and injured parties, but this is mainly due to the fact that most victims have concluded transactions or have acted and continue to claim damages in front of the civil court.

Our pool of lawyers, on May 6th, has instead formalized at the beginning of the hearing the request for the establishment of a civil party claim in the criminal trial, for all our clients, in this way transferring the entire claim for damages – pursuant to art. 75 Italian Criminal Procedure Code – from the civil court office directly in the criminal trial, having already filed,  as you know, a previous case within two years from the claim, in favor of all our clients and in a civil court, to avoid the possible two-year forfeiture of the right to compensation, envisaged by EC regulation 392/2009; when – on the next criminal hearing (set for May 21, 2019) – the civil action claim will be accepted and declared by the judge, this will automatically lead to the interruption of the previous civil proceeding, ritually registered to the role and pending at the Civil Court of Bari RG 20070/2016 – dott. Ruffino Antonio, next hearing scheduled for 11.28.2019. Continua a leggere

The investigation phase has been closed; Norman Atlantic approaches the criminal trial

norman atlantic chiuse indagini preliminari processo penale
A big step towards the criminal trial that will bring finally light and justice to the Norman Atlantic marittime disaster; great satisfaction from our legal team, not only because we are approaching the trial, but also because the Public Prosecutor has clearly listened to the complaints of our clients, adding to the accused list all the crew members who did not provide the necessary assistance to passengers. There was no loading plan for the heavy trucks, and the fire started to develop from one of the refrigerated trucks, because there were not enough power outlets and the truck drivers kept their engines running to cool the goods. A hypothesis that had already made its way in the days following the fire, as a malpractice prohibited by navigation regulations. And there were other and numerous negligence, both in the risk assessment and during the evacuation, with extreme disorganization and several crew members who left the ship way before the passengers were safe. Now the Bari prosecutor, after 3 years close investigations, adding all the crew members to the accused, mainly for our multiple reports of severe complaints from our clients for abandonment of the ship; 30 people and two companies, Visemar and Anek Lines, now face the criminale trial for the shipwreck of the Norman Atlantic ferry, which took place off the Albanian coast on the night of December 28 2014 after a fire broke out on board that cost the lives of 31 people, including some Syrian migrants, even minors, and the wounding of others 64.

All the subjects under investigation are liable for involuntary cooperation in shipwreck, culpable homicide and multiple culpable injuries. Numerous violations on security and the navigation code are also contested. To the original 18 people already in the file of the p.p’s office of Bari, Ettore Cardinali and Federico Perrone Capano, they added others 12: they are the legal representative of Visemar, society owner of the ferry, Carlo Visentini, the two legal representatives of the Greek Anek Lines, charterer of the Norman Atlantic, in addition to the commander Argilio Giacomazzi and 26 crew members. 6 of them also contend that they had left the ship avoiding to help passengers way before they were safe. A series of negligences emerged in the expert’s report of the Port Authority of Bari, above all on the assessment of the risks and on the organization of the operations of evacuation of the ship, which would have caused the shipwreck and the death of some passengers. About the causes of the shipwreck we already ran trough a probationary incident phase that lasted about two years with numerous accesses aboard the wreck, moored since February 2015 in the port of Bari, and still subjected to seizure.

The experts report about a ineffective firefighting system and unprepared crew. The fire supposedly started from a refrigerated truck running a diesel engine during navigation. Furthermore, according to the accusatory hypothesis, a plan to load the 128 TIR on board (of which about 60 refrigerators) was missing, arranged on the bridges in an approximate manner, without respecting the distance between the vehicles and the availability of elettric power, forcing hauliers to keep the engines running. And both the captain and carrier companies were full aware of this malpractice. We are also waiting to call accusation about the reason why the captain and the shipping companies have decided to prevent the intervention of the Albanian tugs to wait the arrival from Bari of the rescue, forcing the passengers to fear for their life two day on a ship adrift in flames and in the stormy sea.

In the next few weeks we will update all our clients with more detail on the following steps, about the civil case running in Bari, relations between civil and criminal proceedings, and strategies of our team in order to bring justice and compensation to all.