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