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Five Costa Concordia staff found guilty over deaths of 32 passengers and crew on shipwrecked cruise liner
- Crew members and company official given sentences between 18 and 34 months
- Unlikely they will actually serve time in jail after accepting plea bargains
- Lawyers for the victims say 'lenient' sentences were 'shameful'
PUBLISHED: 14:19 EST, 20 July 2013 | UPDATED: 16:53 EST, 20 July 2013
Five people were sentenced yesterday for their part in the Costa Concordia cruise ship disaster that killed 32 – but look likely to avoid jail.
The four crew members and a company official received jail sentences of between 18 and 34 months after they pleaded guilty to multiple manslaughter, negligence and shipwreck.
However, judicial sources said none of the five is likely to be jailed as the sentences of under two years were suspended and the longer ones may be appealed or replaced with community service.
Guilty: Two officers, the helmsman, the head of cabin service and the head of the crisis team were found guilty of multiple manslaughter, negligence and causing the shipwreck
Capsize: Costa Concordia ran aground in the Tuscan island of Giglio last January. The five employees were given sentences under three years
Lawyers for the victims decried the verdicts as 'shameful' and said they might appeal for longer sentences.
They said the sentences of under two years were suspended and the longer ones may be replaced with house arrest or community service.
The ship's captain, Francesco Schettino, 52, remains on trial for manslaughter and causing the shipwreck. He is also seeking a plea bargain to reduce a possible jail sentence.
Mr Schettino is accused of abandoning ship before all crew and passengers had been rescued.
A coastguard's angry phone order to him - 'Get back on board, damn it!' - became a catch phrase in Italy after the accident.
The cruise liner hit a rock as it sailed close to the island of Giglio, off the coast of Tuscany last January.
The longest sentence of two years and 10 months was given to Roberto Ferrarini, the ship's crisis coordinator.
Accused: Captain Francesco Schettino (centre) is flanked by his lawyers. His trial on charges of manslaughter, abandoning ship and causing the shipwreck continues
'Lenient': The Costa Concordia staff members are unlikely to serve their reduced sentences. The terms under two years were suspended and the longer sentences could be replaced by house arrest or community service
Cabin services manager Manrico Giampedroni was sentenced to two-and-a-half years and three others including first officer Ciro Ambrosio were given suspended sentences of under two years.
'The plea bargains are unacceptable, they shouldn't have been proposed or accepted. These sentences are ridiculous in the face of 32 dead,' said Gabriele dalle Luche, who represents a group of Russian passengers.
Lawyer Massimiliano Gabrielli told reporters: 'This is shameful justice'.
Daniele Bocciolini, who also represents victims, said he would ask Italy's appeals court to overturn the plea bargains that allowed reduced sentences in return for guilty pleas.
The ship's captain- Francesco Schettino- offered to accept a sentence of three years, five months in return for a guilty plea.
'Shameful justice': Lawyers of the victims say they may appeal the reduced sentences, which they said 'are ridiculous in the face of 32 dead'
Sentence: The longest jail term of two years and 10 months was given to the ship's crisis coordinator. A rescue operation took survivors (left) from the luxury ship but 32 passengers were killed
A previous offer to serve three years, four months was rejected in May and he risks a much heftier sentence if no plea bargain is agreed. Hearings resume in September.
The captain is accused of abandoning ship before all crew and passengers had been rescued. A coastguard's angry phone order to him - 'Get back on board, damn it!' - became a catch phrase in Italy after the accident.
His lawyers say he prevented a worse disaster by steering the 290-metre (950-ft) vessel into shallow waters after the impact and that he was thrown overboard due to the angle of the leaning ship, which still lies rusting off the island.