An appeals court is deliberating the fate of seven experts who were found guilty of failing to adequately warn residents of the risk before an earthquake struck central Italy in 2009, killing more than 300 people.

The guilty verdict and six-year jail sentences handed down two years ago sent shock waves through the scientific community, which argued that the allegations represented a complete misunderstanding about the science behind earthquake probabilities.

An appeals court in L'Aquila is expected to issue a verdict on the appeal later Monday.

The defendants, all prominent scientists or geological or disaster experts, were accused of giving "inexact, incomplete and contradictory information" about whether small tremors felt by L'Aquila residents in the weeks and months before the 6.3-magnitude quake should have been grounds for a warning.