Rrocchelli trial: when the appeal judges overturn the judgments of first degree

The opinion of the lawyer Andrea Di Pietro on the acquittal of Vitaly Markiv at the Milan trial to ascertain responsibility for the death of the photojournalist

Ossigeno The recent acquittal of the accused (read here) on November 3rd  2020, at the conclusion of the appeal trial held in Milan to ascertain responsibility for the death of the photojournalist Andrea Rocchelli, understandably upset the family and all those who suffered from his loss. Civil society has also followed this process with interest, above all because we often witness phenomena of impunity when the victim is a journalist. It happens so often that the United Nations General Assembly in 2013 denounced it with a resolution and at the same time specifically instructed UNESCO to dedicate each year, on November 2nd, a day of reflection on this specific problem, to raise awareness of the public opinion in every country. (watch here)

This acquittal of the accused by the Milan judges, after being sentenced in the first instance to 24 years of imprisonment, sounds a bit ominous and suggests that it may have been a serious judicial error.

Personally, I am not going to enter too far into the merits of the judgement, because others know better than I, the court documents and only those people should be asked what they think did not work in the appeal judgment. I can only observe that these sensational reversals between the first and second degree of the trial, which often impress the layman, are instead an indication that the judicial system works, because the appeals have the exact purpose of amending possible judicial errors.

The stark contrast of judgments, such as the one witnessed in the Rocchelli trial, is in truth a physiological expression of the discretion and therefore of the freedom (which is never arbitrary) of the appellate judges to evaluate the evidence even in a diametrically opposite way to the judges. of the previous degrees.

I am obviously sorry for those who had placed legitimate expectations in a confirmation of the first degree sentence, but I must say sincerely to them that most probably neither of the two sentences is technically wrong. They are just two expressions of different points of view, both legitimate. The important point is that the judges and this will only be discovered by reading the reasons, have made sound application of the rules governing the system evaluating evidence. ADP

The author is the coordinator of the Oxygen Free Legal Aid Office

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