Costa Concordia ex-captain, Francesco Schettino, has been sentenced to 16 years and one month in prison on Wednesday. The prosecution was asking for 26 years and a month and called the ex-captain an “idiot.”
A tribunal in Italy, in the city of Grosseto, has sentenced the ex-captain of the Costa Concordia to 16 years and one month in jail, on charges of causing a shipwreck, multiple manslaughter and abandoning the ship while crew and passengers had still not been evacuated.
The prosecution had asked for a sentence of 26 years and three months and said that “only God could have mercy on Francesco Schettino”. However, the judges nearly halved the sentence, leaving it in 16 years and one month for the fatal shipwreck in January 2012, in which 32 people died.
When the verdict was delivered, after a 19-month trial, the defendant was not in the courtroom to hear it. He had earlier been crying and declaring his feelings about his current situation spontaneously, saying he had spent the last three years of his life in a “meat grinder” and what he had been living through these years could not be called a life.
Some Italian media and the public opinion consider the judges’ sentence to be soft, they say it did not take into account certain aggravating circumstances, like the lack of a guilty conscience. The Justices have ordered an advance of nearly $34,000 for at least 110 of the plaintiffs.
Those 16 years in prison the ex-captain of the Costa Concordia has been sentenced to, are an addition of punishments for the different crimes. So Schettino will face five years for the shipwreck, one year for the injured victims, one month for the lack of communication and ten years for manslaughter.
The prosecution, that had asked for a longer prison sentence, called the commander a “reckless idiot” who had two minds to feel brave but still cause dangers, overrating his own abilities. The prosecutors did not want to show any commiseration for a person who was able to create such a tragedy.
Between Jan. 13 and 14, 2012, Francesco Schettino, then captain of the Costa Concordia, decided to bring the ship closer to shore, allegedly in a maneuver to just show off. This caused the ship to crash against some rocks on the seafloor off the coast of Giglio island.
Schettino delayed the evacuation for an hour, letting the ship to keel over to one side. Later, the captain left the boat before his crew and passengers and to make matters worse when asked by the authorities on shore to board again, he made some excuses and refused.
Francesco Schettino has declared he considers himself a scapegoat in this scandal. He defends he is not the only one to be made responsible, as his crew apparently were not properly trained and he was asked by the cruise company to navigate close to shore, to entertain passengers and onlookers. His plea bargain was denied and now the ex-captain of the Costa Concordia has been sentenced to 16 years in prison.
By Vanessa Pouso
Photo by Hot Gossip Italia – License