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Appeals court orders retrial in sludge spill case

An appeals court in Győr on Monday repealed an earlier ruling acquitting all of the suspects in the case involving a spill of industrial sludge that killed ten people in 2010 at an alumina plant in Ajka, western Hungary, ordering a new procedure, Hungarian news agency MTI reported today.

(Photo: MTI / Csaba Krizsán) 

A reservoir at aluminum company MALʼs plant in Ajka burst in October 2010, sending a flood of toxic red sludge through the surrounding villages. 

MAL was fined HUF 135 bln for environmental damage caused by the spill and was later forced into liquidation.

A report by Reuters today said that the appeals court annulled the earlier ruling of the Veszprém court, citing the judge as saying there had been procedural mistakes and shortcomings in the hearing of witnesses with regard to the evaluation of expert opinions and also in the courtʼs justification for its acquittal decisions. This prompted the Győr court to order a retrial, which could be carried out by the Veszprém court, the judge said.

"The new procedure will have to be conducted in an expedited manner ... and the evidence procedure has to be repeated," Reuters quoted the judge as saying.