Published Brioni pay slips: defended by Ossigeno and acquitted

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The reporter’s articles showed that executives were receiving production bonuses even as the company announced numerous layoffs

OSSIGENO 2nd December 2022 – The reporter Mauro D’Agostino did not violate the law by publishing the pay slips of the managers of the Brioni production plant in 2017 to demonstrate that the company’s financial crisis risked affecting employees whilst the upper echelons were unaffected.

This was established by Judge Dr. Marino, sitting alone in the Criminal Court of Pescara on November 30, 2022 when he acquitted the reporter Mauro D’Agostino who was defended in court by Andrea Di Pietro, coordinator of the Ossigeno Legal Aid Office.

Ossigeno is proud to have supported the legal expenses for the defence of Mauro D’Agostino with the collaboration of Media Defence, the British NGO that for 7 years has financed Ossigeno’s free legal aid activities in support of journalists who are at risk because they lack indemnification by their publisher.

D’Agostino had been accused of the unlawful handling of personal data (art. 167 of the Consolidated Law on Privacy) and disclosure of the contents of secret documents (art. 621 of the penal code) for having published on the 7th June 2017, the pay slips of executives of the company that produces Brioni clothes although redacting the personal details of the individuals.

The pay slips showed substantial “production bonuses” despite a significant drop in turnover and with the serious prospect of numerous layoffs of Brioni personnel.

The sentence comes at the end of a long and taxing trial which in the end saw the reporter acquitted of both charges. The reasoning behind the judgement will be given in 15 days.

THE CONTEXT –Brioni, a company based in Penne in Abruzzo, has been for decades a world-renowned symbol of Italian excellence in the menswear sector. About ten years ago, the company was acquired by Kering, the international group operating in the luxury goods sector based in Paris.

THE TRIAL – On the 17th November 2017, the legal officers of Catania, at the request of the Court of L’Aquila, carried out the preventive seizure of seven files depicting the pay slips of managers of the companies Brioni S.p.A. and Roman Style S.p.A.

The files had been attached to an article written by Mauro D’Agostino, a collaborator of the online newspaper published on the 7th June 2017. A month before the seizure of the files, on October 7th, the police of Collecorvino (Pescara) notified Mauro D’Agostino of the opening of an investigation of him for defamation, following a lawsuit by the company.

Ossigeno‘s Free Legal Aid Office took on the defence of Mauro D’Agostino who had been abandoned by his publisher.

The company had ordered the newspaper to remove the article the day after the article was published, defining it as damaging to the company’s image and harmful to commercial relations.

THE INVESTIGATION OF THE SACKINGS – Mauro D’Agostino had published that article as part of a serialised investigation that the hosted between the 10th March and the 19th   June 2017.

From the journalist’s perspective it emerged from the files obtained that some important Brioni executives had benefited from production bonuses while the company’s turnover progressively decreased.

THANKS TO OSSIGENO – The former chief editor of Silvio Aparo and the reporter Mauro D’Agostino commented on the judgement as follows: “We are proud and incredibly happy that our path has crossed with an organization in defence of journalists such as Ossigeno per l’Informazione, with the extraordinary legal defence work carried out by the Lawyer Andrea Di Pietro. We want them to be known and credited, first of all, for having restored dignity to individuals first of all, even before journalists, who have carried out their work with passion and professionalism for the common good. But we also want to demonstrate it openly for all those colleagues from small newspapers or who work alone and can and will find themselves in the same disagreeable situation as us. Together it is possible to fight for a media capable of reporting the truths. Together we can hope for a free, independent and non-submissive journalism”. wt

Oreste Vighi

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