Packed court as shipwreck captain hears evidence
GROSSETO, Italy (AP) - The captain of the cruise ship that crashed into an Italian reef appeared in court on Monday to hear the evidence against him, while hundreds of passengers who survived the deadly shipwreck and the families of those who died in it showed up just "to look him in the eye."
The case of Francesco Schettino, 51, was of such enormous interest that a theatre had to be turned into a courtroom in the Tuscan city of Grosseto to accommodate all those who had a legitimate claim to be at the closed-door hearing.
Wearing dark glasses and a suit, Mr Schettino used a back entrance to slip into the theatre, making no comment to reporters outside. Lawyers said he listened intently to the proceedings inside, where his attorneys raised some objections to the evidence being submitted.
Thirty-two people died after Mr Schettino, in a stunt, took his Costa Concordia cruise ship off course and brought it close to the Tuscan island of Giglio on the night of Jan 13. The ship ran aground and capsized.