Next hearing in Nerpa submarine accident case set for Dec. 20
VLADIVOSTOK, December 11 - RAPSI. The first jury trial hearing into the Nerpa submarine accident case, held as part of the case's reconsideration in Vladivostok, dealt with a number of procedural issues; it was decided to hold the subsequent hearing on December 20, a representative of the defendants told RIA Novosti.
Both defendants - Captain Dmitry Lavrentyev and Petty Officer Dmitry Grobov - attended the hearing.
On December 6 the court formed a jury of 13 main and 5 reserve candidates.
The first voir dire session was held on August 17. On that occasion, only four candidates out of 20 were left after various refusals to serve were taken into consideration.
On September 25 there were 22 candidates, but only 12 remained after 10 refused to sit on the jury. The court requires that there should be no fewer than 18 people on the jury to start proceedings.
On November 8, 2008, the Nerpa nuclear submarine was running sea trials in the Sea of Japan (the East Sea), when its freon-based fire-extinguishment system was activated.
The freon gas, however, started to displace the breathable air. Of the 208 on board, 20 were killed and 21 were hospitalized for toxicity.
Investigators brought negligence charges against Lavrentyev and Grobov. The hearing was held in private.
The Pacific Fleet Military Tribunal acquitted Lavrentyev and Grobov on October 14, 2011.
On May 3, 2012, the Supreme Court reversed the decision. The court remanded the case for reconsideration.
As reported previously, the acquittal caused a great deal of controversy. The victims' relatives were indignant at the verdict, while the defendants' colleagues were pleased with the result, as they believed the investigators had simply pinned the guilt on the accused in their eagerness to blame someone for the accident.
In this new trial, the defendants' attorneys are again seeking their clients' acquittal.