Bologna: Blogger Carlo D’Adamo acquitted on appeal for articles on toxic waste

Questo articolo è disponibile anche in: Italian

by Oreste Vighi – Seven years after the events and after the first degree sentence – the prosecutor had asked for eight months of imprisonment without parole and compensation for damages

OSSIGENO 6th May 2021 – On the 1st April 2021 the blogger Carlo D’Adamo, defended by the advocate Andrea Di Pietro, coordinator of the Ossigeno Legal Aid Office, was acquitted by the Bologna Court of Appeal in relation to the criminal trial which saw him accused of aggravated defamation against the well-known Emilian businessman Luca Razzaboni for two articles, published in Controcorrente., on waste disposal in the area of ​​San Giovanni in Persiceto (Bologna). Roberta Sangiorgi tried with similar charges for articles on the same matter was also acquitted.

THE FIRST DEGREE – On February 24th 2020, the first degree judgment of the Court of Bologna had left a bitter taste in the mouth. It had concluded with a judgement that had acquitted Carlo D’Adamo, in relation to one of the articles, but convicted him for the second article disputed in the indictment: with a sentence of a 10,000 euro fine, payment of legal fees and compensation for the damage. The Public Prosecutor had also asked for him to be sentenced to eight months of imprisonment without a suspended sentence.

APPEAL – Carlo D’Adamo, assisted by the advocate  Andrea Di Pietro, filed an appeal against that sentence and on April 1st  2021, the long-awaited and welcome news arrived of the complete acquittal and as a consequence the revocation of all the civil rulings that the Court of First Instance of Bologna had issued in favour of the entrepreneur Luca Razzaboni.

THE ARTICLES – The disputed articles published in October 2014 by reported the story of the toxic sludge stored in San Giovanni in Persiceto (near Bologna). They were THE CONTEXT – The story, as the defence counsel of the blogger reminded the Court of Appeal, was back in the news in October 2014 as the article had underlined. The European Court of Justice, on the 9th September 2014 (hence only a month before the appearance of the article) had imposed a fine of 40 million euro on Italy, the highest since 1992, for failing to properly monitor the serious environmental and health consequences resulting from illegal dumping of toxic waste in 196 landfills scattered throughout Italy, including the Razzaboni landfill site, located in San Giovanni in Persiceto.

The journalism therefore, recounted the events of pollution and the related judicial consequences from 2001 to the present day and the relations between the municipal administration and the Emilian entrepreneur which resulted in a real tug-of-war to oblige the entrepreneur to reclaim the polluted area. A legal and administrative battle that lasted 15 years and was well described by Carlo D’Adamo following the maxi fine imposed by the European Court of Justice in 2014.

RIGHT OF CRITICISM – The Court of Appeal of Bologna, acknowledging  the blogger’s explanations  ruled that his articles were perfectly legitimate in terms of the right to report and criticism, as they took on the duty of informing public opinion about  serious and almost forgotten story which began in 2001 and which involved and continues to involve issues related to the protection of the environment and public health, legally recognised as public  assets belonging to the community and constitutionally protected. OV

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