(ScienceInsider) Seven experts tasked with giving advice ahead of the deadly earthquake that struck here in 2009 have been found guilty of manslaughter by a judge in the central Italian town this evening. The four scientists, two engineers, and a government official were accused of having carried out a superficial analysis of seismic risk and of having provided false reassurances to the public ahead of the quake, which killed 309 people. The prosecution had requested prison terms of 4 years for the accused, but Judge Marco Billi has handed each a sentence of 6 years imprisonment. The lawyers of the convicted say they will appeal the verdict.

Alfredo Biondi, the defense lawyer for one of the seven, Claudio Eva, a seismologist at the University of Genova, says the verdict was “extremely mistaken” and that he was “sorry” because he had “great faith in the law and those who apply it.” He added: “When someone says how things are, they shouldn’t end up in jail for 6 years.”

Note: Read our discussion guidelines before commenting.