VLADIVOSTOK, April 26 (Itar-Tass) – The jury in the Pacific Fleet military court found Dmitry Lavrentyev and Dmitry Grobov not guilty of the Nerpa submarine accident.
The jurors took the decision unanimously.
The court is planned to pronounce the verdict based on the jury's decision on April 29.
Prosecution representative Felix Mamot said the prosecutors intended to appeal against the acquittal.
Former captain of the submarine Lavrentyev was charged with power abuse that caused deaths through carelessness. According to the prosecutors, the commander did not ensure training of the crew to work with new equipment and act in emergencies before the submarine came out for tests.
According to the investigators, petty officer Grobov was the direct culprit. When he stood watch, he, allegedly being "bored", pressed the buttons activating the fire extinguishing system.
Both defendants pleaded not guilty.
During the tests in the Sea of Japan on November 8, 2008, the fire extinguishing system started working automatically aboard the Nerpa nuclear-powered submarine. Twenty people died and 38 suffered poisoning from freon and tetrachloroethylene. Aboard the submarine at the moment were 208 people. Seventeen civilians, members of the plant team, and three servicemen died in the accident.
The prosecutors suggested bringing other charges against Lavrentyev – negligence instead of power abuse, the former commander's attorney Sergei Bondar said. According to him, it is a lighter charge stipulating a less severe sentence.
The position of the prosecutors toward machinist Grobov, who is charged as the direct culprit, did not change.
The prosecutors and the attorneys have different views on the questions for the jury.