Italian Scientists Convicted Of Manslaughter, Sentenced To 6 Years In Jail, Over Earthquake They Failed To Predict Properly (Techdirt)
Tuesday October 23rd, 2012
A year and a half ago, we wrote about some Italian seismologists who were being tried for manslaughter after a risk assessment they wrote up, in which they concluded that a series of small earthquakes along a faultline wasn't that serious, and the risk of a big earthquake was not that high. About a week later, a 6.3 magnitude earthquake struck, destroying a bunch of buildings and killing over 300 people. Admittedly, one government official exaggerated what the report said, claiming that there was no danger -- but government officials have a way of taking a nuanced claim and turning it into a crazy absolute. Either way, because of all of this, the seismologists and the government official were charged with manslaughter -- especially after it was claimed that some people stayed inside during the quake, believing the recent reporting about there being no risk.
Because of that, they've now been convicted of manslaughter and sentenced to six years in jail. This is despite the fact that the report quite clearly said that "earthquakes were unpredictable, and that building codes in the area needed to be adjusted to provide better seismic safety."