The biggest issue in the trial is whether four senior crew members, including the captain, will be found guilty of murder by willful negligence for abandoning the ferry prematurely and leaving hundreds of passengers to die.
On the first day of the trial,state prosecutors accused the four of killing some 300 passengers by failing to make every effort to rescue them.
Apart from the murder charge, the four, were also charged with negligence that led to the sinking of the vessel and caused great casualty. The 11 other crew members were similarly charged.
The senior crew members argued it was the Coast Guard's responsibility to rescue passengers.
Captain Lee Joon-seok's lawyer asserted that it was unjust to hold Lee responsible for what he could not do when he had taken steps to protect the vessel while he awaited the arrival of the Coast Guard.
A court official quoted the captain as saying that he asked passengers to get off the ferry before he abandoned the vessel himself.
Another lawyer defending the frist mate said crew members requested emergency help from the Coast Guard, and thought it would be best to evacuate passengers when rescue experts arrived.
For the murder charges to be upheld, prosecutors will need to overcome a number of challenges.
They need to prove the crew members did not make efforts to rescue passengers even though they knew those on board would die.
The prosecution also needs to prove the direct link between the acts of the crew and the death of the passengers.
The next session is scheduled for next Tuesday.
The verdict is expected no later than November.
Sohn Jung-in, Arirang News.