Francesco Schettino, the captain of the Costa Concordia cruise ship that crashed into an Italian reef, appeared in court Monday to hear the evidence against him, while passengers who survived the deadly shipwreck and the families of those who died showed up just “to look him in the eye.” Click “more” below for the full story!
The case was of such interest that a theater had to be turned into a courtroom in the Tuscan city of Grosseto to accommodate those who had a legitimate claim to be at the closed-door hearing.
Schettino used a back entrance to slip into the theater, making no comment to reporters outside. Lawyers said he listened intently to the proceedings, where his attorneys raised some objections to the evidence being submitted.
Thirty-two people died after Schettino took his Costa Concordia cruise ship off course and brought it close to the Tuscan island of Giglio on the night of Jan 13. The ship then ran aground and capsized. Schettino himself became a lightning rod for international distain for having left the ship before everyone was evacuated.
Hearings this week will help decide whether the judge will order a trial for Schettino, who is accused of manslaughter, causing the shipwreck and abandoning ship while passengers and crew were still aboard. He denies the accusations and hasn’t been charged. Any trial is unlikely to begin before next year.
Crash survivors, victims’ relatives and their lawyers attended the hearing on the evidence against Schettino and eight others accused in the shipwreck, including crew members and officials.