Prescription, approval by the Chamber for the fifth reform in 19 years: here are the key points

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By John

The Chamber gives the first green light to the fifth prescription reform in 19 years. The deputies, with 173 yes and 79 no, approved the bill initially signed by Pietro Pittalis (FI) which however was rewritten in the Justice Commission thanks to the amendments of the rapporteurs Enrico Costa (Az) and Andrea Pellicini (FdI).

The text, which now must pass to the Senate, can also be applied to ongoing cases, not just future ones, thanks to the ‘favor reì’ principle. In extreme summary, the text provides for a suspension of the statute of limitations for 24 months after the first degree conviction and 12 months after confirmation of the conviction on appeal. If the appeal sentence does not arrive within the expected time frame, the statute of limitations will resume its course and the previous suspension period will be calculated.

Even in the event of a subsequent acquittal or annulment of the conviction on appeal or at the Court of Cassation, the period in which the trial was suspended will be calculated for the purposes of the statute of limitations.. In short, it is a substantial return to the law approved in 2017 with Andrea Orlando (Pd) Minister of Justice despite the fact that the amendment proposal which proposed tout court the return to the law of the then Minister of Justice Dem was rejected in the Chamber.

“In fact – explains the rejected Pellicini – we have improved that text by introducing the rule which allows, in the event that the appeal sentence does not arrive within the time required by the new law, to also calculate that time which has elapsed for the purposes of the statute of limitations”.

In the Chamber, all the amendments aimed at excluding from the new count which “much shortens criminal trials”, as observed by the PD group leader in the Justice Commission Federico Gianassi, serious crimes such as deaths at work, gangmastering, disasters were also rejected. negligence, revenge porn, torture.

But the Democratic Party’s request to have the text returned to the Commission and amendment proposals such as that of the M5S which in reality “contains the thesis supported by the Minister of Justice Carlo Nordio” were also rejected. to make the limitation period run from the day of registration of the crime notice” and no longer from that of the commission of the crime. The Pd idea of ​​monitoring the application of the Pnrr on the prescription was rejected, but it is passed as the agenda. The attack from the M5S was very harsh and, with Stefania Ascari, accused the centre-right of “weakening the Anti-Mafia legislation” and of aiming for “classist justice”.

“If this text becomes law – observe the Dems Gianassi and Debora Serracchiani – there will be chaos in the Courts and the trials will inevitably slow down given that the statute of limitations will have to be recalculated manually, file by file”, as the request of the presidents of the Courts has not been implemented of Appeal, contained in a letter to Nordio, to include in the bill a transitional provision to “save ongoing trials”.

The parliamentary groups presented 20 agendas, some of which were rejected, such as those who asked for a commitment from the government to prevent the continuation of the ax of the statute of limitations on trials such as those of the Viareggio or Morandi Bridge massacre. Clash in the Chamber between Serracchiani and Delmastro who, still alone at the government benches, rejoices with the agencies for the approval of the text, long before it is voted on by the Chamber.

“Respect Parliament more” is the appeal of the Democratic Party deputy. The one just approved is the fifth reform in 19 years: after the ex-Cirielli one in 2005 there were the laws of the Keepers of the Seals Orlando in 2017, Alfonso Bonafede in 2019 and Marta Cartabia in 2021.

SUSPENSION OF LIMITATION OF LIMITATIONS FOLLOWING CONVICTION

The art. is introduced into the penal code. 159-bis which provides that the course of the statute of limitations remains suspended, following the first degree conviction, for a period not exceeding two years and, following the appeal sentence confirming the first degree conviction, for a period of time not exceeding one year. Furthermore, when the publication of the appeal ruling or the cassation ruling occurs after the expiry of the respective suspension period, the prescription resumes its course and the suspension period is calculated for the purposes of determining the time necessary to prescribe. The periods of suspension are also calculated for the purposes of determining the time necessary to prescribe when the accused is acquitted or the sentence is annulled in the part relating to the assessment of responsibility or the nullities are ascertained.

INTERRUPTION OF THE COURSE OF THE PRESCRIPTION

Intervention is made on article 160 of the penal code. The amendment provides that the order which applies the personal precautionary measures and the order validating the detention or arrest, the interrogation carried out before the public prosecutor or the judicial police, upon delegation of the public prosecutor, or the judge, interrupt the limitation period. the invitation to appear before the public prosecutor for questioning, the judge’s order setting the hearing in chambers for the decision on the dismissal request, the request for committal to trial, the decree setting the preliminary hearing, the order ordering the summary trial, the decree setting the hearing for the decision on the request for application of the sentence, the presentation or summons for the direct trial, the decree ordering the immediate trial, the decree ordering the trial, the conviction sentence and the sentencing decree.

TERMINATION OF THE COURSE OF THE PRESCRIPTION

Article 161-bis of the penal code is repealed. The eliminated provision provides that «the statute of limitations for the crime definitively ceases with the pronouncement of the first degree sentence. Nonetheless, in the case of annulment which entails the regression of the proceedings to the first instance or to an earlier phase, the limitation period resumes its course from the date of the definitive pronouncement of annulment”.

STOP IMPAIRMENT

Article 344-bis of the code of criminal procedure is repealed, which provides for the institution of inadmissibility for exceeding the maximum duration of the appeal proceedings. That is, the failure to settle the appeal judgment within two years and the Supreme Court judgment within one year constitute grounds for the inadmissibility of the criminal action.