The journalist is sued by the driver of a car which hit a tree causing the death of a young woman passenger as they were returning from a discotheque. She will be aided by Ossigeno
On the 13th September 2017 the journalist Giulia Cerino, currently a correspondent of the programme Piazzapulita of the La7 channel, found herself on trial in Velletri charged with defaming a young man from Pomezia in a television broadcast in which she did a reconstruction of the death of a twenty-one year old, Federica Monti, in a road accident which happened in 2012 whilst she was in a car driven by the young man. The reconstruction was broadcast on the 11th June 2015 during an episode of AnnoUno, a programme of La7 produced by the Zerostudios Company headed by Michele Santoro. Ossigeno has decided to provide free legal aid to the journalist after the editor and the producer of the programme refused to bear the legal expenses.
The disputed reportage – The reportage of Giulia Cerino refers to the tragic death of the young woman whilst returning from an evening in a discotheque due to a tragic road accident, involving the drunken driver, in which the car hit a tree. The reportage recalled the details of the accident in order to elicit comments from several young people in Pomezia on the adequacy of the sentence given to the driver (a year and ten months in prison suspended conditionally). The report also contained a statement by the father of the young woman who regretted the weak support shown by the local community and defined as inadequate the sentence.
The reportage highlighted the inadequacy of the penalties envisaged for fatal accidents. This is a much-discussed question in recent years until 2016 when the crime of “road homicide” was introduced).
The legal context – The plaintiff was the driver of the car who maintains that his reputation has been unjustly damaged by the reconstruction even if it is based on legally established evidence.
On the 24th October 2013, in fact, the young man had appealed the sentence of a year and ten months of prison, obtaining its conditional suspension. There were in addition to the suspended sentence, the suspension of his driving licence for two years and an administrative penalty of 400 euro. The sentence itself took account of the fact that the driver drove at high speed and was under the influence of alcohol.
The journalist is the only one sued and indicted for defamation. Neither the production company nor the editors of AnnoUno received a lawsuit and have rejected Giulia Cerino’s request for legal assistance from them.