An Italian court ruled on Saturday to postpone a preliminary hearing regarding charges against those responsible for the Costa Concordia shipwreck that killed 32 crew and passengers. The hearing is now set to take place on October 15th.
The Huffington Post reports that the court made the decision to delay the hearing so that they can examine an expert assessment of audio evidence from the ship’s black box data recorder. The hearing will decide if the Concordia’s captain and others should be indicted for the incident.
A lawyer for Caprain Francesco Schettino stated to reporters by the courthouse that the black box recorders will prove that his client is telling the truth. Bruno Leporatti stated:
“Schettino has felt relieved since he had the chance to tell his version of the facts to the judge, but he is also relieved because the audio evidence from the black box confirm his version.”
According to Yahoo News, Leporatti also stated that investigators have not been able to gather all of the evidence, “given the complexity of the questions” prepared for the hearing. He also commented that a delay is preferable to risking incomplete evidence in any forthcoming trial.
The Costa Concordia cruise ship ran aground and half-sank after a rock tore a hole in the ship’s hole while it made an approach to the small Tuscan island of Giglio on January 13th. Of the 4,200 passengers and crew aboard, 32 are dead, with two still unaccounted for.
Prosecutors are accusing Schettino of causing the accident after bringing the massive cruise liner too close to the shore, then abandoning ship before all passengers were evacuated. Eight other officers, as well as executives of the ship’s owners Costa Cruises are under investigation as well.
Schettino, who was released from house arrest earlier this month, was not at the hearing on Saturday. In a recent interview, he did admit mistakes before the disaster, and also apologized for the incident. He stated during the interview that he was distracted by a phone call just before the shipwreck occurred.
The Costa Concordia still lays in the same position it landed in the shallow waters off Giglio, half-submerged in the blue waters. Captain Schettino has maintained his innocence ever since the ship ran aground on January 13th.