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Industry boss sentenced to jail in Italy

The Local · 16 Apr 2011, 09:44

Published: 16 Apr 2011 09:44 GMT+02:00

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Harald Espenhahn was convicted by a court in Turin in the north of the country of "voluntary homicide", a first in Italy for a workplace accident.

Seven workers died days and weeks after suffering severe burns when a fire broke out at the steel plant's thermal treatment department.

The fire was one of the worst in Italy and sparked a public debate over health and safety regulations.

Four other executives were convicted of complicity by carelessness and sentenced to 13.5 years in prison, and a fifth received a 10-year jail term. ThyssenKrupp was also fined one million euros.

The steelmaker called the verdict against Espenhahn "incomprehensible and in explicable," in a statement released in Italy, adding that its attorneys would look into what can be done about it.

Story continues below…

The defence had claimed the trial was "political."


The Local (news@thelocal.de)

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Your comments about this article

11:42 April 16, 2011 by tallady
I am at a loss here...Four other executives were convicted of complicity by carelessness.. This dose not say much ,,were they culpable? what type of carelessness are they talking about?

These are hefty sentences,here in Germany you would not get this sentence for mass murder.
13:28 April 16, 2011 by frankiep
I don't know the details of what happened, but this just sounds over the top ridiculous.
13:55 April 16, 2011 by bugger
excellent decision. director is responsible for lack of protection for workers.
17:08 April 16, 2011 by Al uk
FAO frankiep

"over the top".

Seven people died !
21:24 April 16, 2011 by Small Town Boy
Yes, seven people died. But he didn't kill them.

I don't know what evidence was presented to the court that wasn't made available to the media, but there doesn't appear to be a great deal of evidence that those managers were responsible for the deaths beyond the fact that the workers were at that time working (no doubt much appreciated) overtime. Italy has traditionally had an unusual approach to "justice" with an eagerness to find defendents guilty in high-profile cases regardless of the evidence (see also the Sollecito/Knox case). A warning to anyone wanting to conduct business there.
23:57 April 16, 2011 by Landmine
Typical Italians, exaggerate everything to the point it is ridiculous...
03:31 April 17, 2011 by wood artist
Unless there was some evidence of direct involvement, this seems pretty weak. On this basis, almost any company official could be held liable for a workplace death, something that, unfortunately, happens often. It's one thing to charge a company for failure to follow safety procedures or whatever, but this is something else.

I'm beginning to think that Italy and justice are two words that shouldn't appear in the same sentence. I'm not certain Knox was innocent, but I'm quite sure her trial was anything remotely resembling justice properly applied.

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