First hearing of the trial of 59 defendants over fatal collapse of Morandi Bridge in 2018 ends ‘prematurely’. It will continue in September.
Fifty-nine defendants are on trial accused of manslaughter and undermining transport safety after over 40 people were killed when the Morandi Bridge in Genoa, collapsed almost four years. The first hearing on Thursday lasted less than two hours. The trial has been postponed until September.
Judge Paolo Lepri said the first hearing had ended “resoundingly prematurely”. The second is scheduled for 12 September, during which judges would decide on requests made by the civil claimants.
The bridge collapse
The Morandi Bridgecollapsed during a storm on 14 August 2018. Forty-three people, the youngest an eight-year-old boy, fell 45 metres to their deaths. It was one of the worst tragedies in modern Italian history.
The bridge was part of a major arterial route. It connected east and west Genoa, and the Lombardy and Piedmont regions with Liguria and the French border. It had been plagued with structural issues since its construction in the late 1960s. As a result, the maintenance was very expensive.
The remains of the structure were demolished and a new bridge, designed by the architect Renzo Piano, was inaugurated in July 2020.
Who is on trial?
Those on trial include former bosses and technical officers for Autostrade per l’Italia (ASPI), the highways company, and SPEA, its maintenance unit: In addition, on trial are current and former transport ministry managers and civil servants.
The prosecution argued that many of the defendants were aware that the bridge was at risk of collapse; but did nothing to prevent it from happening.
However, the lawyer for the former Austostrade chief executive, Giovanni Castellucci, said the trial would show that the bridge collapsed not as a result of maintenance negligence but due to an original “construction defect”. Castellucci is among the defendants,
“This is why 43 people died in a terrifying and absurd way,” Giovanni Paolo Accinni told reporters, the LaPresse news agency reported.
The Italian government took back control of motorways as a result of the Morandi Bridge collapse.