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This book summarizes and critically reviews the complex story of the L'Aquila trial, in which five scientists and two civil protection officers were prosecuted for manslaughter after the earthquake of 6 April 2009 and sentenced to six-year terms in jail plus the payment of approximately 7 million euros to relatives of the victims.
The aim is to cast light on the many open questions and inconsistencies in the reporting of the trial, as well as to examine the trial's implications and consequences. The seismological evidence and the knowledge of earthquake risk in the L'Aquila region before the earthquake are first reviewed. Key events, including the meeting attended by the defendants on 31 March 2009 and the interview recorded before but broadcast after the meeting, are carefully analyzed. The material presented by the prosecution and defence and the reasoning of the judge in reaching his verdict are then discussed, with detailed examination of the scientific issues relevant to the sentence. Although six of the defendants were acquitted upon appeal, and the sentence of the seventh was reduced, the trial remains a landmark event. Many readers will find that this book causes them to reconsider their opinions of the original trial.