Guilt "impossible to prove": No convictions for Rio-Paris plane crash
French prosecutors found that finding Air France and Airbus guilty of involuntary manslaughter is impossible.
French prosecutors on Wednesday said it was "impossible" to convict Air France and Airbus, the plane maker, over the Rio-Paris plane crash in 2009, infuriating victims' families after a trial that lasted eight weeks.
Prosecutors are saying that they could not recommend a guilty verdict for the two corporations, which had been charged with involuntary manslaughter in an accident that killed 228 people.
Their guilt "appears to us to be impossible to prove," said French prosecutor Pierre Arnaudin in a Paris court. "We know that this view will most likely be difficult to hear for the civil plaintiffs, but we are not in a position to demand the conviction of Air France and Airbus."
Despite that the prosecutors have come to the conclusion not to seek a conviction, the judges overseeing the trial do not necessarily have to follow this advice.
Air France and Airbus went on trial in October after mourning families sought accountability for what is the worst air disaster in the history of Air France, killing 228 on board flight AF447. Both companies denied involuntary manslaughter allegations, which may lead them to pay a maximum fine of $236,000.
In 2019, prosecutors also dropped the charges against the two companies, further aggravating the victims' families. However, an appeals court overturned this decision in 2021, and reinvigorated the trial.
"We have a prosecutor who is supposed to defend the people who in the end is defending the multinational Airbus," Daniele Lamy, the head of the Entraide et Solidarite AF447 association, which translates to Mutual Aid and Solidarity Association AF447.
Lemy slammed the decision as a "trial skewed against the pilots".
"I'm ashamed to be French," one furious civil plaintiff said as they left the court on Wednesday. "What's the justice system for?" asked another.
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