Italian PM Renzi outraged after asbestos conviction tossed out due to statute of limitations

Italian Premier Matteo Renzi has added his voice to a chorus of outrage after Italy's highest court threw out a conviction against a Swiss businessman for some 3,000 asbestos-related deaths blamed on contamination from a construction company.

The Court of Cassation ruled late Wednesday that the statute of limitations had run out in the environmental negligence case against Stephan Schmidheiny, a former executive and key shareholder in the Swiss construction firm Eternit.

An appeals court in 2013 upheld the conviction and increased to 18 years from 16 the prison term issued by a lower court in 2012.

Renzi said Thursday the case showed how Italy's justice system must be reformed to speed up trials. He said: "It's not possible that for some cases the demand for justice runs out."