quarta-feira, 8 de fevereiro de 2012

STM maintains controller's verdict in Gol accident

STM maintains controller's verdict in Gol accident by Vannildo Mendes, Agência O Estado By 12 votes against and one abstention, the Superior Military Tribunal (STM) has rejected the defense's appeal and upheld the conviction of Air Force Sergeant Jomarcelo Fernandes dos Santos for manslaughter. Jomarcelo was the flight controller who, according to prosecutors, had a decisive contribution in the 2006 crash that killed 154 people, including passengers and crew in an accident between an Embraer Legacy business jet and a Gol Boeing 737 in Mato Grosso. On the day of the accident, Jomarcelo was in the control tower at the Brasilia airport and, according to the Court, his conduct was negligent and he did not prevent the disaster. He was the only flight controller punished by the military courts. The other controllers, also from the Air Force, who were on duty on the day of the accident were acquitted by the military courts. Today the STM upheld Jomarcelo's conviction to one year and two months' imprisonment, determined at the trial level in 2010. Jomarcelo's lawyer appealed to the Superior Tribunal, requesting review of the sentence on the grounds that the accident was caused by a number of errors and faults, technical and operational, in the Brazilian air traffic control system. Dissatisfied with the course of the judgement, moving towards predictable defeat, the sergeant's lawyer, Roberto Sobral, withdrew from the courtroom in protest and said he will appeal to the Supreme Court (STF). "This is a farce to cover up the serious problems of the air traffic system and the responsibility of superiors," said the lawyer. According to investigators, Jomarcelo had negligent conduct, failed to observe the standards of aviation safety, did not notice the disappearance of the Legacy's transponder signal and not order the business jet's pilots to change altitude passing through Brasilia, and so avoiding collision with the Gol Boeing coming from Manaus. The Federal Courts had already condemned last year, another flight controller, Lucivando Tiburcio, and the two American pilots who piloted the Legacy to the United States (Jan Paul Paladino and Joe Lepore) for actions that put Brazilian aviation safety at risk.

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