Two years laterTuesday, March 18, 2014
Once train crash trial begins
Hours before the long-awaited trial into the 2012 Once train crash that killed 51 people, a group of family members of the victims agreed to accept a compensation agreement from the former concessionaire Trenes de Buenos Aires (TBA) through a confidential extrajudicial accord that forces the families to pull out of the trial that begins today.
Under the terms of the agreement neither the families nor the company can reveal the compensation that was paid out to the families in exchange for their giving up all rights to participate in a criminal trial.
The agreement was signed by family members represented by attorneys María del Carmen Verdú and Marcelo Parrilli, who will no longer take part in the trial against 29 people who have been accused in the trial.
Judicial sources told the DyN news agency that other groups of family members are also negotiating compensation with TBA. But lawyers Leonardo Menghini and Leila Leiva reiterated yesterday that they will not under any circumstances agree to a compensation agreement that would involve dropping their legal claims.
The trial that begins tomorrow in the Central Courthouse in the Retiro neighbourhood has three groups of plaintiffs represented by lawyers Gregorio Dalbón, Miguel Angel Arce Ageo and Leonardo Menghini Rey.
25 Months Coming
After almost 25 months since the crash, Judges Jorge Luciano Gorini, Rodrigo Giménez Uriburu and Jorge Alberto Tassara from Federal Court 2 will begin assessing the evidence against 29 defendants, who are charged with a variety of crimes ranging from unintentional derailment to corruption. Around 380 witnesses are expected to testify.
Some of the highest profile defendants include former TBA owners Mario, Roque and Sergio Cirigliano, former Transport secretaries Ricardo Jaime and Juan Pablo Schiavi, and Marcos Antonio Córdoba, the engine-driver who was driving the train when it crashed into Once station.
Córdoba is charged with driving the train too fast and failing to apply the emergency brakes.
Meanwhile, the former officials are charged with fraud that is detrimental to the state.
A total of 789 people were injured on that fateful morning of February 22, 2012 a carriage known as “Chapa 16” on the Sarmiendo line failed to come to a stop when it was arriving at the Once station — the terminal for the line. Overcrowded carriages piled on top of one another, leading to tragedy.