The fourth hearing started on October 24, with the pleading of Petrelli, defending Barberi.
He started remembering the so-called “theory of social representations” developed by anthropologist Ciccozzi, which served as “covering scientific law” to assess the causal connection between defendants initiatives and casualties in the first trial. Denying the value of such a law, Petrelli said that it was the “sick fruit” of the trial. Instead, the trial itself could be considered a “representation” where facts have been replaced by interpretations. One example of this was the “expansion” of the “Major Risks Commission”, arbitrarily performed by Prosecutor and Judge, which brought to the inconsistency of having DPC officials indicted for not having supplied useful information to DPC (therefore to themselves).
The prosecution and the sentence mix up hazard and risk, and many statements have been taken out from their context; this is unfair. The Sentence motivation speaks about victims as they “where induced to stay at home”. There was no direct action concerning this: once again the motivation is providing a “representation” of what really happened.
There are several contradictions in the motivation. The judge says, “the scrutiny of the defendants behavior has not to be evaluated through scientific rules or the consistency of the relevant issues or the share they have throughout the scientific community”. Then he spends pages on telling which scientific arguments the defendants should have considered. Petrelli quotes a law saying that the judge has no right to propose his own scientific views. Laws ruling the Commission are not prescriptive.
In the meeting minutes there are no reassuring statements. Assessor Stati asks Barberi if they have to pay attention to the several alerts from varied sources and Barberi says no. At that point Stati says “so I can go and reassure..”
The statement of the judge, affirming that “to say that the only way to reduce seismic risk is to improve the safety of the building is so obvious, so useless” is catastrophic. Do it in Genova now [after the recent flood] and see which will be the answer. A very bad page of the Italian justice.
The L’Aquila Major, Cialente, asked for emergency status to be declared the day after the meeting, asks to send more firemen and says that the seismic risk at L’Aquila is very high: he has not been “doped” to calm, as the Prosecutor say for the citizen.
Newspapers after the 31 March meeting report: “L’Aquila is on emergency”; “evacuation tests”; “lot of nerve”; “people in the streets”; “people sleep in the cars” etc. This is the true social representation of the events, with the addition of some type of “we are getting accustomed”. Just contrary to what Ciccozzi said, that the Commission delivered the rule of staying at home in the occasion of strong shakings!
Petrelli finally asks Barberi to be released from the accusation.
Then Dinacci, defending De Bernardinis and Dolce.
To discuss a trial on risk is difficult. Earthquake sequences are not precursors, the earthquake fault was not known before. The perception of the media messages is highly personal. In the last 30 years there were about 30 earthquakes felt at L’Aquila: people report they went out few times. On March 30 (before the meeting) people went out but came back home spontaneously.
Giuliani said the swarm was to be finished by the end of March. The famous interview to De Bernardinis was given before the meeting, while the interviewer asked to broadcast it after (permission denied). Why the judge states it is the “Manifesto” of the meeting, when the next interview was different? The sentence uses “circular” statements, what is not allowed in a sentence. Dolce and De Bernardinis represented the commitment of the meeting. The book written by Dolce is a separate item, not involved in the trial. The responsible person for the emergency communication is the Major, and he did not reassure anybody.
Asks for De Bernardinis and Dolce to be released from the accusation.
Finally Melandri, defending Boschi.
Remembers the pleading of Valentini, civil parts lawyer, mostly against Boschi. The Sentence never mentions a single statement from the defense. It is not true that the defendants are not accused for not having predicted the earthquake, they are, and there is at least one point of the sentence where this is clearly stated. Remembers the press release of March 30 denying future earthquakes, which started this nightmare. The famous interview to De Bernardinis has to be looked at, not only listened. Boschi did not attend to the press conference after the meeting (the one without audio record), nor was invited. They did not mention “energy discharge”; all civil parts say that they have been reassured by such statement.
Ciccozzi says that the Commission used a reassuring term (“sciame” = swarm; in Italian it is used also for “hive”, with reference to bees): bees produce honey, which is sweet. Cialente on April 2 says that the “energy discharge” is a hoax (leggenda metropolitana). On the opposite, the University Rector and prof. Moretti released reassuring interviews.
Asks for Boschi to be released from the accusation.
Finally Boschi gives a short note concerning his paper of 1995 and his statement on the return period of the earthquakes on the main faults.
The next hearing will be on October 31. If time will allow, there will be the sentence, too.