Court notifies witnesses in 2006 Gol airplane accident
Collaboration with Folha Online
The Federal Court of Mato Grosso this Friday notified the witnesses in the accident involving Gol Flight 1907 and a Legacy jet belong to the firm ExcelAire, which happened in the north of Mato Grosso in September of 2006. In his dispatch, judge Murilo Mendes criticized the United States courts, which have not heard the witnesses that live in the country alleging that it cannot pay the expenses of the procedures.
The two aircraft collided in midair, causing the deaths of 154 people aboard the Boeing. The Gol plane fell in a region of dense forest, while the Legacy, despite a damaged wing, managed to land.
In this Friday's dispatch the judge determined that the witnesses for the defense of the controllers who monitored the aircraft be heard by precatory letter (in the cities where they reside). There are four in Brasilia and one in Rio.
In the case of the pilots, despite the witness living in São José do Rio Preto (438 km from São Paulo), the judge determined that he be heard by the judge responsible for the judgement, in the city of Sinop (MT). The deposition was set for 14:00 on November 25.
The witness is an employee of Embraer, a company also located in São José do Rio Preto [sic] and maker of the Legacy.
Murilo Mendes pondered that it could not be demanded of the witness that he leave his home city to testify, but argued that the aircraft's manufacturer, presumably, should not refuse to pay for the travel, "since it has an interest in the question of the accident being sufficiently clarified."
Judge Murilo Mendes's document is full of criticisms of the North American courts' posture in respect to fulfilling the precatory letters to hear witnesses who reside in the United States.
Despite their being a cooperation agreement with Brazil, the United States courts have not fulfilled the request to hear those involved made by the Brazilian courts alleging that the country "does not agree with using public goods and efforts to pay for the cost of hearing witnesses called by the defense".
According to the United States courts, the procedure will only be undertaken if there is an explicit interest by the judge or by the accusation" [unmatched quote in original]. In reponse, Mendes wrote in his dispatch: "let it be, hereby, clarified that the Brazilian court do, indeed, have interest in the evidence".
The judge ended the document determining that his dispatch be sent to the presidencies [sic] of the Ministry of Justice and the CNJ (National Judiciary Council) to communicate the "absence of communication" on the part of the North American court authorities as to the progress of the pilots' interrogation.