Italy’s high court (known as the Court of Cassation) ruled on Tuesday that the Captain of the Costa Concordia, Francesco Schettino, must remain under house arrest while he is investigated for possible criminal charges. He has already been under house arrest since January.
Schettino is facing charges in the aftermath of the Costa Concordia wreck that include manslaughter, causing a shipwreck, abandoning ship, failing to report an accident to the coast guard and destroying a natural habitat.
Prosecutors were pushing for the captain to go behind bars during the course of investigation, but the defense was able to convince Itay’s Supreme Court of 5 judges that he should have his freedom and stay under house arrest.
Schettino’s lawyer, Bruno Leporatti, said in a statement ahead of the ruling that his client had “full trust and respect in the judges and that he awaits the Supreme Court’s decision with serenity.”
The court was also expected to rule on the admissibility of the captain’s phone intercepts at the police station following his detention right after the shipwreck.
No one has yet been officially charged with any crimes, but seven other officers are under investigation along with the captain over allegations including manslaughter, shipwreck and failure to report the accident, the prosecutor said.
Schettino’s defense so far has been that the rock that the ship struck was not indicated on any of his charts, and that when the ship did hit the rock it was the Costa cruise line that instructed him to sail close to the island.
Some are saying that the move to sail the ship close to the shore saved lives as it kept the ship from sinking all the way below the waters while others have stated that this only expedited the listing of the vessel.
Italy’s civil protection agency stated Tuesday that 30 bodies had been recovered from the wreck of the Costa Concordia, and just 25 have been identified with 5 still in process of identification. Two people still remain missing.