from the legal-insanity dept
Capitalist Lion Tamer points us to a story that sounds like it should be in The Onion. However, it appears to be real that some Italian seismologists are being tried for manslaughter due to an earthquake that they failed to predict. The key was that apparently some of the seismologists had suggested that seismic activity in the area wasn't likely to lead to an earthquake... which turned out to be wrong:
At the time of the 31 March 2009 meeting, seismic activity had been going on in the area for more than three months, causing alarm in the population. De Bernardinis summoned the meeting and asked the scientists to assess the risk of a major earthquake and its possible consequences. The meeting was followed by a press conference by De Bernardinis and Barberi, where the two reassured the population that the seismic sequence did not necessarily hint at a major earthquake. De Bernardinis, in particular, appeared on television saying that “the scientific community tells me there is no danger, because there is an ongoing discharge of energy. The situation looks favorable”. A major earthquake did hit on April 6 though, killing 309 people. In the aftermath, many citizens quoted those statements as the reason they did not take precautionary measures, such as fleeing their homes. According to the accusation, many people who would otherwise leave the area decided to stay, and were eventually killed in the collapse of their houses.That seems crazy, but the judge refused to dismiss the case, and it will apparently start this fall. What's next? Will someone sue the weatherman for being wrong?