Date Set for Senna Trial Verdict

The panel of judges ruling on the manslaughter trial over the death of Ayrton Senna is due to issue the verdict on May 27, it was revealed today

Date Set for Senna Trial Verdict

An Italian state prosecutor asked on Wednesday for the trial to be halted because of a statute of limitations which meant time had run out to press charges.

The Williams team's technical director Patrick Head and former chief designer Adrian Newey were acquitted of manslaughter charges in a 1997 trial and that verdict was upheld by an appeals court in 1999.

However, Italy's highest court in 2003 ordered the case to be re-heard because of "material errors" in the appeals process involving legal technicalities. The new trial opened on Wednesday in the northern Italian city of Bologna.

Prosecutor Rinaldo Rosini told the court that the fatal accident was caused by a dangerous modification to Senna's car that was overseen by Head and not properly checked by Newey.

However, Rosini asked the panel of judges for the case to be closed because of the statute of limitations, Ansa news agency reported.

Lawyers for Head and Newey urged the court to reject the request and instead asked the judges to remove any doubts about the accident by returning "not guilty" verdicts.

"In Formula One you have to accept that there is a risk factor that is part of the rules," Ansa quoted defence lawyer Luigi Stortoni as saying.

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