How the bugging rules are changing with the new judicial reform
With the draft law on judicial reform, the Meloni government intervened on numerous issues. One of the most discussed topics is wiretapping and the new restrictions on newspaper publications. They may only be disclosed if they are used in the proceedings or by the judge to justify an action.
After more than seven months of work by Justice Minister Carlo Nordio, the Council of Ministers of the Meloni government yesterday approved the judicial reform that it says it intends to push “on behalf of Berlusconi”, who died on Monday 12 June. Numerous interventions are envisaged in the text, which is being submitted to Parliament as a draft law and is therefore not yet in force. One of the most debated is the one repealing the abuse of office, which among others prompted Carlo Calenda’s action to openly declare himself in favor of the bill. Another point that receives special attention is the following New rules for interceptions.
In fact, the bill includes a provision “on wiretapping to protect the confidentiality of third parties not involved in the proceedings.” Basically, it is about preventing the wiretapping measures that result from the investigations of the public prosecutors end up in the newspaperswith some limited exceptions. The rule is presented with the aim of protecting the “confidentiality of the third party” who “has nothing to do with the procedure”. That is, a person mentioned in the wiretapped conversations but not involved in the investigation must not be present in the recordings and the leads must be removed. Much less does it have to be present in a journalistic publication.
In fact, the prohibition in the newspapers always applies to interceptions, unless these are “reproduced by the judge in the reasoning of a determination or used during the hearing”, referring to Article 114 of the Code of Criminal Procedure. In short: If a tapped telephone conversation is not ended, the following must be observed in detail: in public documents of the process, then it cannot be published. Today, however, the line is more fluid and conversations may be made public when in the hands of investigators.
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The closure is particularly significant because it also rules out any interceptions already in place filed and are therefore available to both the prosecution and the defense. Even at this stage, even if the people involved are informed, the conversations cannot be made public unless they are specifically mentioned during the hearing or the judge uses them specifically to justify an action.
At the same time, the trial records and the copies of the documents handed over to the defense and the prosecution must not be made available to anyone other than the parties and their defense counsel. As a result, journalists’ access to documents describing the trial and investigation was almost completely restricted. Minister Nordio defended this decision, saying that there was no intention “No gag to the press“but that the current system of disclosing wiretaps has historically reached levels of “near barbarism.”