The scientists were well aware of the small quakes. The prosecution alledged that they should have known that this meant an elevated risk of a big quake and that their downplaying of said risks was sufficiently negligent to ammount to manslauter. The court agreed with the prosecution and convicted them but the sentances were apparently suspended until appeal.
Did the court convict because they took a detatched view and found the people truely negligent or was their verdict colord by rage and the need to find a scapegoat. That is why we have appeals.
Unfortunately I can't seem to find any information on whether the appeal was successful, a failure or still in-progress.