Gol/Legacy Accident- MPM asks for absolution of controllers
by Institutional Communications Department
The Military Prosecutors' Office (MPM) in Brasilia presented to the Air Force Permanent Council of Justice final written arguments in the trial determining the responsibility of air traffic controllers' in the accident between Gol Flight 1907 and a Legacy jet belonging to American company ExcelAir, on September 29, 2006, which left 154 dead. In the document, MPM manifests itself in favor of the acquittal of five flight controllers who operated the system at the time of the collision. "No reprehensible criminal conduct remains proven, at least in the actions of these defendants, despite the unfortunate human loss due to this aviation fact," writes a member of the military prosecutors' office in Brasilia.
According to the MPM, several events led to that outcome, the expert technical report demonstrating that the turning off of the TCAS equipment by the U.S. pilots, probably carelessly, was decisive for the outcome. Also according to the document, some procedures adopted by controllers were different from those described in regulations, but as investigations showed, had become customary in air traffic control, it not being possible to affirm that air navigation operators, on that occasion, had been omiss or negligent. Equally, they could not have assumed that that practice, widespread in all air traffic control bodies, could have caused such a grave event.
The military prosecution to determine responsibility of the flight controllers in the accident was only begun in June 2008 after an appeal to the Superior Military Tribunal. The 11th Military Circuit Court had rejected the indictment brought by the MPM Brasilia. During all this time between the occurrence of the mid-air collision and the end of the criminal investigation, the Military Prosecutors' Office sought the clarification of the dynamics of the event, looking for evidence of the defendants' effective participation in the crash.
In the written arguments, the Brasília military prosecutors' office also claims that there was no interference in the formation of its convictions on the fact, whether from the relatives of the victims, those involved, the proceedings of the Federal Court of Sinop-MT, or the clamor for social justice . "The Military Prosecutors' Office stuck only to the facts described, investigated, exhaustively discussed and proven in the trial record," the document says.
The presentation of written statements is a step in the criminal trial preceding judgment, which must be scheduled shortly by the 11th Military Circuit Court. On that occasion, four of military air traffic controllers will be tried for violation of Article 324 of the Military Criminal Code (CPM), failing to observe laws, regulations or orders. The other airman will be judged for manslaughter, art. 324 of the CPM.