The Senna Files

Ayrton Senna trial appeal news


Senna crash due to breakup of steering but ...

The Court of Cassazione today acquitted former Williams chief designer Adrian Newey: not to have committed the fact. The charges against Patrick Head, former Williams technical director, were ascribed: extinct through prescrizione.

The Judges should deposit the 'motivations for their findings' within 90 days,



Supreme Court clears way for Senna death retrial

Citing 'material errors' made by the original Appeal Court in 1999 the Court of Cassazione finally published the reasons for its 2003 decision. Italian law states that a written explanation of the judgment must be published before a date can be set for a new hearing.



Senna Trial: Appeal Overturned!

Presided over by Francesco Mario Agnoli, the Court of Cassazione in Italy today annulled the previous verdict of 'not guilty' awarded to Patrick Head, Williams technical director, and Adrian Newey, former Williams chief designer. The judges' decision was partially based on the interpretation of Article 530 of the Italian Penal Code, see below for more details.

Although a date for the new hearing has not been set it will probably occur later this year. The prosecution will be represented by Deputy Attorney General Rinaldo Rossini whilst Roberto Causo is expected to continue his role as defence lawyer for Head and Newey.

Both Head and Newey have always denied responsibility for the circumstances that surrounded Ayrton Senna's death.

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Appeal absolves Head and Newey

On November 22 1999 the Court of Appeal in Bologna absolved Patrick Head and Adrian Newey from all charges regarding the death of Ayrton Senna da Silva.

Their decision was based on the second paragraph of Article 530 of the Italian penal code: "WHEN NO MORE EVIDENCE is presented during an Appeal session, and when the first session has concluded with full absolution, the accusation has to be declared as "non-existent or the fact doesn't subsist".

The defence seemingly utilised the knowledge that the prosecution would have no chance of submitting NEW evidence:

No more data was available from the Black Box taken from Senna's FW16. This 'box' was presumed damaged in the crash, although at the trial evidence was given to the contrary.

No availability of the missing 1.6 seconds of videotape taken from Senna's on-board camera. These pictures would have shown Ayrton's reaction to the steering prior to impact with the concrete wall at Tamburello.

Williams' defence lawyers argued that Senna's crash was caused by a series of unpredictable events and not by a broken steering column.

In their opinion the crash was caused by Senna approaching the Tamburello curve in a different position and hitting a series of bumps on the track surface.

This 'bump' theory had been strongly contested at the trial by various experts.

Prosecutor Rosini has said that he will review the motivations of this verdict before asking for the intervention of the Cassazione Court.

The motivations will be officially released within 90 days.


Senna Appeal: Date set!

The appeal lodged in 1998, by State Prosecutor, Maurizio Passarini, against Judge Antonio Costanzo's acquittal of Patrick Head, Williams technical director, and Adrian Newey, former Williams chief designer, is to be heard in Bologna on 19 November 1999. It is not yet known if any new evidence will be presented.

Frank Williams has asked the Italian court to be included in this action. His objective is to gain total absolution for the Williams team regarding the cause of Ayrton Senna's fatal crash.



Trial verdict: Appeal lodged

Chief prosecutor, Maurizio Passarini, has lodged an appeal against judge Antonio Costanzo's decision to acquit two of the defendants in the Senna trial, namely Patrick Head, technical director at Williams GP and Adrian Newey, former Williams chief designer.

It was Passarini's opinion that Head and Newey were ultimately responsible for the bad design and workmanship of the steering column modifications carried out on Ayrton Senna's Williams-Renault. In his closing statement (at the trial) Passarini had asked that both Head and Newey receive one year suspended sentences.

Although the judge stated that - It was the breaking of the modified steering column that caused Ayrton Senna's Williams-Renault to leave the track at the Tamburello curve - he had found both defendants 'Not Guilty'.


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