Archivi tag: preliminary hearing

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

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Norman Atlantic: criminal trial starts 4 years from the disaster

At exactly 4 years from the fire and shipwreck of the Norman Atlantic, here it comes the official news that the Prosecutor’s office of Bari has finally requested the indictment for the 32 suspects (30 individuals and two companies) accused of the disaster occurred off the Albanian coast in the night between 27 and 28 December 2014, which caused 31 victims, including 12 confirmed deaths and 19 bodies never found, and the serious injury of 64 of the approximately 500 passengers, all remained on board in stormy sea for two days and beyond, and that even today they have not overcome the trauma of that terrible experience.

No fire alarm was issued, no warning from the crew, and the passengers awoke at night between coulters of smoke and panic scenes. A panic which released – in many – the worst in human race. The first to abandon ship were some of the crew, dropping quickly the only usable lifeboat, with just a third of its precious capacity of persons. During the retrieve of the passengers using the baskets lowered from helicopters, others have literally attacked the rescuers, with bites and punches, just to be saved first, others refused to leave priority to women and children. Some people threw himself into the water to escape the flames, and was quickly swallowed by the waves of the icy December sea.

The news of the signing of the request for judgment had been circulating for some weeks now, but reaching the 4th anniversary, it comes an official confirmation that the prosecutors have requested the criminal trial for the legal representative of Visemar, the company that owns the ferry, Carlo Visentini, the two legal representatives of the Greek Anek Lines, charterer of the ship, the commander Argilio Giacomazzi and 26 members of the crew. After confirming the serious responsibilities and negligence that emerged in the probationary phase, the suspects are accused, for various reasons, of crimes of negligent cooperation in shipwreck, culpable homicide and multiple culpable injuries in addition to numerous violations on safety and the navigation code.

The date of the first hearing with the judge of the preliminary hearing has not yet been set, but we already know that – in order to overcome the logistical difficulties of the court of Bari – the Bitonto bunker room was again made available, in which we will stand for this part of the criminal trial.

Our team “Giustizia per Norman Atlantic” has represented so far about fifty people whose lives were devastated in various ways in the shipping incident, as passengers or as family members of victims or missing, and for many of those we lauched the multi-milion civil case running in Bari, that lately moved a further step in extending the compensation responsabilities to another company of Visemar Group.

For many others, forced by the long waiting and personal difficulties, we were asked to negotiate and close their case with a transaction, but now with the criminal trial pending we are confident that justice will soon be brought to all, even for those that couldn’t wait for a judicial and more fair compensation. New clients have recently joined, to overcome the lack of results they faced in other countries and different strategies.

But for all passengers, more and beyond an economic compensation, the first right to justice is that those who have made so many mistakes will pay with years in prison and companies will be punished with heavy punitive damages, so that this tragedy will prevent the recurrence of disasters in the world of navigation by ferries

The 2019 will now be the year of the Norman Atlantic trial, and we will ensure to make it as productive and effective as possible.