Costa Concordia Trial Opens, Immediately Stalls

Hearing adjourned until next week
By Evann Gastaldo,  Newser Staff
Posted Jul 9, 2013 8:09 AM CDT
Costa Concordia Trial Opens, Immediately Stalls
Captian Francesco Schettino, bottom right third from from right, talks with his lawyer Domenico Pepe, bottom right, during a hearing of his trial, in Grosseto, Italy, Tuesday, July 9, 2013.   (AP Photo/Giacomo Aprili)

The trial of Francesco Schettino, captain of the doomed Costa Concordia cruise liner, began today, 18 months after the ship ran aground—and was almost immediately postponed, the BBC reports. The hearing was adjourned to July 17 because a nationwide lawyers' strike is going on in Italy. (It involves a fight with the Justice Ministry over proposed reforms, the AP reports.) The trial is taking place in a makeshift courtroom, which is actually a theater in Tuscany; a lot of space was needed for survivors of the disaster and relatives of the 32 victims.

Schettino, who is charged with multiple charges of manslaughter, abandoning ship, and causing a shipwreck, has insisted he is a scapegoat. A lawyer for the victims, meanwhile, expressed frustration that Schettino is the only person standing trial. "There is still a need to shed light on what happened," he says. Five other defendants got plea bargains and are expected to face far lighter sentences than the 20 years Schettino faces. Everything about the post-disaster progress has been slow: The Costa Concordia still lies half-submerged, remains of two victims have not yet been found, and locals are impatiently waiting for the ship to be removed. (More Costa Concordia stories.)

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