It seems that the Italian judiciary thinks that man can do anything.
There was an earthquake in Italy in 2009 and the seismic scientists were unable to predict the effects with 100% accuracy so that people could take the necessary steps to protect themselves.
Scientists who work for the Italian Great Risks Commission were accused of giving inexact, incomplete and contradictory information about whether small tremors, felt in the weeks and months before the large earthquake, were precursors to the large earthquake. Prosecutors said the scientists gave “incomplete, imprecise and contradictory” statements about the risk of a major earthquake.
As a result, precautions were not taken and 308 people died.
Now, an Italian court has found seven of the scientists guilty and sentenced them to six years in jail. Several of them are prominent scientists or geological and disaster experts.
The following day, several senior members of the Commission resigned as they said “the convictions made it impossible to continue their work”.
While there may be mitigating circumstances that we are not privy to, a conviction such as this, even the laying of charges, may be a serious threat to anyone working in the following areas:
- development of any emergency plans, including business continuity plans, disaster recovery plans, security plans, pandemic plans;
- education in any of the above areas;
- emergency responders, including police, fire, EMTs
- inhouse managers of any of these programs
- company and government senior managers whose responsibilities include any of these areas
- professionals in emergency medecine, such as doctors and nurses.
There may need to be some controls to ensure that safety-related jobs are performed correctly, but this court case has set a dangerous and damaging precedent.