Italy. Dismissed a lawsuit by a former MP against journalist under escort

The investigating judge of Ragusa will not proceed with the alleged libel charge – The Italian Supreme Court confirms the ruling of the Court of Appeal of Catania

OSSIGENO 6th Mar 2022 – The sentence of one year and 10 months has been definitively confirmed for Giovan Battista Ventura, known as Titta, the mafia boss who, in 2015,  threatened the journalist Paolo Borrometi (under police escort from years) for his investigations into organized crime in Vittoria in the province of Ragusa, Sicily. On the 9th December 2021 the Criminal Section Five of the Italian Supreme Court rejected his appeal against the sentence of the Court of Appeal of Catania. In June 2020 the Catania court had handed down the same sentence (read here on Ossigeno), recognizing the aggravating circumstance of the mafia method used in the threats and attempted personal violence against the journalist, deputy director of the press agency Agi and president of ‘Article21’ (an organisation advocating for the public’s right to information). Ventura was also sentenced to pay court costs and to reimburse those incurred by Paolo Borrometi, the National Order of Journalists, FNSI, Municipality of Vittoria and the Sicilian Order of Journalists as civil parties.

Titta Ventura, believed to be the boss of the mafia clan of the Vittorio Veneto, had directed these remarks to the reporter: “I’ll snap off your head; I’ll be your worst nightmare and then we’ll meet in the afterlife; if you want we can also meet in the police department, since I will still snap your head off … we will give you what you deserve in your mouth … we’ll come and seize you anywhere “.

THE DISMISSED LAWSUIT – In early February 2022, the General Prosecutor of the Court of Syracuse instructed the dismissal of the lawsuit of the former member of the Sicily Region, Giuseppe Gennuso against Paolo Borrometi. On December 5th 2019, in an article in the ‘Corriere Elorino’, the journalist asked the politician why he had not answered the question regarding accountants believed to be close to the mafia boss Matteo Messina Denaro. The episode had already been highlighted in his book ‘A death now and again’, published by Solferino in 2018 (see here on Ossigeno). Pippo Gennuso, who had left his position in the Sicily Region due to the Severino law (a law intended to suppress and prevent corruption), claimed that associating him and his real estate company with the accountants of the mafia boss of Castelvetrano (i.e. Messina Denaro) had been seriously damaging to his reputation and he had sued.

The judge argued that “there is a suspicion of illegal acts, a reasoned  denunciation typical of investigative journalism and which is based on true facts ( contained in passages from the report of the prefect of Trapani) and on evident journalistic suspicions which Borrometi had asked the Honourable Gennuso ”… for clarifications.

Paolo Borrometi was defended by the lawyer Giovanni Ciuca.

LT

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