Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Italian Parliament Is Now Moving On A Bill To Speed Up Many Trials And Appeals

Posted by Peter Quennell

Our poster Commissario Montalbano described back here how the surfeit of caution in the Italian legal system leads to protracted delays.

This proves tough on Italian police, prosecutors, judges and perps. It is especially tough on the families of victims, as Meredith’s father John Kercher explained here, here, and here.

Now Andrea Vogt reports on a promising if somewhat controversial reform bill already passed by the Italian parliament’s lower house which may speed up many trials, eliminate others, and cut down on the mandatory appeals.

The key provision of the new law is to reduce the time that trials take in Italy. Most Italians support this: they are fed up with a judicial system that is inefficient and moves at a snail’s pace.

There are millions of backlogged civil and criminal trials, which, when they finally get to court, can drag on interminably. Even the European Court of Human Rights has condemned Italy for its court delays…

Popular move on the whole, but it could also knock out a lot of seemingly deserved trials, and weaken judges by making them liable to civil actions.

Posted by Peter Quennell on 04/19/11 at 03:19 PM in The wider contextsItalian contextItalian system


Email just in from a regular reader asking if we can rebut this:  http://www.cpj.org/2011/04/journalists-threatened-for-reporting-on-murder-cas.php

The interim response was as follows and we will be posting later at more length.  Joel Simon of the Committee To Protect Journalists should first have checked his facts and “Frank’s” credentials.


Go to the PMF forum? http://perugiamurderfile.org/viewtopic.php?p=86344#p86344  I posted the link to this open letter early today on page 13 (search Fast Pete if this link does not take you to it) and it has been discussed since then.

“Frank Sfarzo” is a pseudonym and NOT a journalist. He works for the PR campaign and they have paid him money. Joel Simon has been totally conned (I wrote to him telling him so) by an anonymous blogger and he should not have taken that bait.

“Szfarzo” has been in trouble with the law recently, but mostly because he got drunk and was embroiled in a family fight and the police were called in. We’ll post all the real facts in a day or two but PMF comments make for an interesting read.

The letter is riddled with wrong claims. Genuine and objective reporters have been much harrassed and even libeled by the PR campaign and it is THEM that Joel Simon should have been supporting. Not an anonymous trouble-making fraud.

Posted by Peter Quennell on 04/20/11 at 12:14 AM | #


Any chance of seeing your e-mail to Joel Simon?

First Wikipedia and now CPJ. Wikepedia, it seems,  was just a trial run. Like silencing critics with the issue of a writ, the petition has actually seemed to work so far. Jimbo was conned. Confusion followed. Editors quit or are sidelined for the time being. The petition generated publicity for the innocenti. Joel Simon has now likewise been conned. The tactic is clear.

Frank Sfarzo and Bruce Fisher are a double act and Bruce Fisher has been especially active because Curt and Edda have had to bite their lips of late.

Just look at the court dates coming up.

May 9th - DNA Report. May 17th - AK defamation trial. May 21st - AK/RS Appeal. July 4th - Curt & Edda defamation trial.

For pro AK campaigners if AK is acquitted of the serious offences then all well and good, but in reality they know this is not going to happen.

They also know that those accused of defamation will be convicted and so they are laying the foundations for their own publicity and spin on the outcome; and if they can get people like Joel Simon and others on board that will be an immense help for them.  In their eyes it’s bloggers (like themselves) who are just as, probably more, important then reporters.

They have so much invested in their blogs, books et al that the only thing they care about is how how all this goes down, particularly in America.

I have no doubt that the likes of BF and FS are going to portray the defamation trials as akin to Stalinesque show trials and hope that some of this will rub off on the result of the appeal. Forget Mignini (who is not prosecuting anyway as I understand it - he is just being used as a smear as if he were Stalin), it is italian prosecutors and the italian judicial system in general that they are gunning for and trying to give a bad name to, in the hope that some political influence can be brought to bear.

I think that the fact that the defamation trials are currently mixed up with appeal dates makes it awkward for Wales and Simon to come down on the likes of BF and FS just at the moment without appearing to be prejudicial to the appeal. Someone is playing a deft if thoroughly objectionable hand here.

Whoever that, is the problem for him or her is that none of this is going to make a toss of a difference, except perhaps on the internet and with the media!

Posted by James Raper on 04/20/11 at 10:41 PM | #

Hi James. yes it’s quite an industry. Jimbo Wales and Joel Simon seemingly have both been conned.

Doug Preston and Mario Spetzi filed the complaint about “Frank Szfarzo” with with Joel Simon’s journalist outfit here in New York, presumably without mentioning that they themselves have a lot at stake, and that good reporters have been far more slimed by their ownenterprise.

I sent a brief message through the CPJ message system to Joel Simon, and didnt think to keep a copy, but it was essentially the same as in the first comment above.

As you say, Italian justice is impervious and chugs on remorselessly, and these manipulations will have no effect on the appeal or other trials. But the politics could drag on for years.

Posted by Peter Quennell on 04/20/11 at 11:15 PM | #

I have a question regarding the CPJ situation: don’t they have a moral (and possibly, legal) obligation to do some fact-checking before defending a seemingly-persecuted journalist?

It’s one thing when a government blocks social networking sites, or arrests a controversial blogger, and thousands of people confirm the situation and demand international intervention.  It’s a very different thing when an anonymous blogger claims to have been harassed by the police and no one can confirm it one way or another.

Are the people at CPJ that naive? Do they not have policies in place to at least attempt to verify what happened? Are they that willing to risk their reputation for the sake of an anonymous blogger across the ocean?

It seems fishy.

Posted by Vivianna on 04/20/11 at 11:39 PM | #

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