The below is from a Cypriot newspaper today and basically says that three managers / manager pilots and an engineer have been found guilty for manslaughter and will be given jail sentences of about 10 years.
Interestingly it says that the First Officer was 'weak in executing procedures' and 'the accused should not let him fly the aircraft' !!! It also says something similar for the captain.
A GREEK court yesterday sentenced three executives and an engineer from defunct Helios airline to 10 years in jail – pending an appeal – for the 2005 crash, which killed all 121 passengers and crew on board.
The four, Helios’ managing director Demetris Pantazis, flight operations manager Giorgos Kikkides, Bulgarian chief pilot Ianko Stoimenov and chief British engineer Alan Irwin, were found guilty of negligent manslaughter, a misdemeanor.
The court rejected a proposal that would have allowed the defendants to buy their way out of jail. Under Greek law, people convicted of certain crimes can convert jail sentences into fines.
The defence said it appealed the verdict.
The defendants were not present yesterday but they posted a €10,000 bail each to remain free until the appeal is heard.
The trial in Greece – the site of the crash -- began in December 2011, shortly after a three-judge criminal court in Cyprus had acquitted – by majority decision -- all five defendants charged in connection with the charge.
Apart from Pantazis, Kikkides, and Stoimenov, Cypriot authorities had also charged Helios executive chairman Andreas Drakos and Helios as a legal entity with manslaughter. But they had not charged Irwin.
The Attorney-general has appealed the Criminal Court’s decision.
“It is good that there are some guilty parties here, because in Cyprus no one was found guilty,” said Sophia Charalambous, wife of the ill-fated flight’s co-pilot Pambos Charalambous, 51.
The charge sheet in Cyprus said the two pilots were unfit to fly the aircraft and that Helios knew or should have known about this.
“This did not appear (in the Greek court). For us it was good because our own was not to blame,” Charalambous said in Athens, referring to her husband. .
Charalambous suggested political interests had played a role in the decision of the Cypriot court.
“We do not think it is right to put the responsibility on two dead men,” she said.
Eleni Alexandri, the mother of one victim, appeared somewhat satisfied but said that the trial (in Greece) should have been held at a criminal court and not a magistrate’s court, which cannot impose more than 10 years.
“They know very well that all these people are guilty and it is a shame that the trial took place at a magistrate’s court,” Alexandri said.
Lawyers representing the relatives in Athens said it was a fair and correct decision, affording the bereaved some degree of satisfaction for the first time in some seven years.
“Nothing can reverse their loss, given that human life cannot be measured in money, neither can it be covered by court decisions,” said attorney Apostolos Pantos.
The defence said it would fight the verdict, which they considered “wrong”.
It was not clear yesterday if the Greek court’s decision would have any bearing on the appeal procedure here, which is set to kick off in Nicosia next month.
“If the Supreme Court rejects the Attorney-general’s appeal, then Cyprus’ decision will become irrevocable, thus various issues will come up,” with the main one being whether the Greek court’s decision could be enforced, said Constantinos Mavroides, a lawyer for the relatives.
“But that is something that we will deal with in the course of things.”
The August 14 crash of flight ZU522 was the deadliest aviation disaster in Greece and Cyprus. The Boeing 737-300 slammed into a hillside at Grammatikos, near Athens, killing all 115 passengers and six crew.
In an October 2006 report on the crash, Greek investigators cited human error as the main cause of the crash, saying the pilots had left cabin pressure controls at an incorrect setting.
Passengers and crew were starved of oxygen due to problems in the cabin pressurisation, while the aircraft subsequently crashed into the hill after running out of fuel.
The report also cited Boeing for “ineffectiveness of measures”, since the same alarm was used for two different problems, resulting in the pilots misinterpreting the information.
A 2006 independent inquiry into the crash found that although the pilots were directly responsible for the crash, the airline as well as civil aviation officers were criminally liable.
The full findings of the inquiry, carried out by former judge Panayiotis Kallis, were only made public in December last year.
The 170-page report had been placed under the care of the Cabinet, the body that appointed the panel, and kept from the public eye since.
The panel was appointed back in 2006 to investigate both the underlying and immediate causes of the crash.