SLAPP. Judge says: no ban on the sale of book “The Italy of hidden powers”
The Court of Rome rejected the request and sentenced the plaintiff to pay legal costs and compensation for reckless litigation to the publisher Newton Compton
OSSIGENO April 8, 2022 – The book by journalist Philip Willan entitled “The Italy of Occult Powers”, published in Italy in 2017 by the Newton Compton Editori Publishing House, will not be withdrawn from the market. On January 18th 2022 the Civil Court of Rome, in the person of Judge Silvia Albano, rejected the request to withdraw all copies for sale from the market. The request was made in a civil action by Simone Fazzari, an individual mentioned in the book who had also asked for damages. He has appealed against the sentence.
THE CONTEXT – Starting from the enigmatic death of the banker Roberto Calvi, found hanged under Blackfriars bridge in London, Willan presented this event as the culmination of a criminal sequence that was unprecedented in European crime history, based on what emerged from years of complex investigations and from a careful examination of judicial sources.
THE CIVIL CASE was initiated by Fazzari to invoke the de-listing of some excerpts from the book present online, but then it morphed into a libel case. The judge sentenced the plaintiff for reckless litigation pursuant to Article 96 of the Italian Civil Code to pay compensation in favour of Newton Compton Editori S.r.l. for a total of € 3,500.00. In addition the Court sentenced Fazzari to pay the litigation costs in favour of Newton Compton Editori S.r.l. (these expenses amounted to a total of € 7,500.00) and to payment of litigation costs to Philip Willan, for a total of € 7,500.00.
THE DISPUTED EXPRESSIONS – At the beginning Simone Fazzari had asked the Court to order the cancellation wherever they were, or as an alternative, the so-called “de-linking” of the web page that referred to the excerpts of the book that concerned him personally.
In these excerpts he was defined “a) a lawyer disbarred from the advocates’ register and intent on laundering the proceeds of his frauds; b) a ruthless individual who allegedly made arrangements to kill an alleged boss of the Rome underworld; c) a troublesome swindler in league with the Vicar General of Rome Cardinal Agostino Vallini; d) a former lawyer who is unemployed, mentally ill, and on the verge of suicide “. Fazzari stated in the course of the trial that these were seriously defamatory and completely false statements.
THE JUDGMENT – The Court, making use of the copious documentation filed by the defence counsel of the book’s author, consisting mainly of judicial documents and certain reliable sources of another nature, ruled that all the passages of the book deemed defamatory by the Fazzari were substantially true.
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