Trapani. Journalist Giacalone acquitted, sued by boss wife
He was accused of defamation for having called Mariano Agate “a piece of shit.” Satisfaction in the world of journalism and politics
In a judgment by the Court of Trapani, pronounced on June 7, 2016, the journalist Rino Giacalone, accused of having apostrophized the boss Mariano Agate as “a piece of shit”, was acquitted of libel. The story ends after three years following the publication of an article, which Giacalone had published signing it on 3 April 2013 on the collective blog malitalia.globalist.it, in which he reconstructed Agate’s past, who died in that period for natural reasons while serving a life sentence for the convictions reported for the Capaci massacre and for seven murders, including those of the judge Giangiacomo Ciaccio Montalto. The widow, Rosa Pace, had sued Giacalone on 23 May 2014 accusing him of insulting the memory of her husband with that expression.
“I wasn’t just me who was acquitted. This is an achievement for all our colleagues” Giacalone told Ossigeno, not hiding that he was pleasantly surprised when the judge began reading the sentence citing Article 21 of the Constitution.
The ruling was hailed by Don Luigi Ciotti, by a group of activists of Libera and by relatives of Mariano Agate, who were recognized as civil parties in the proceedings. Favorable judgments have been expressed also by the president of the Order of Journalists of Sicily, Riccardo Arena, Senator Mario Giarrusso (M5S), member of the Parliamentary Anti-Mafia Commission, by the Regional Health councilor Baldo Gucciardi (PD) and the vice president of the National reporters’ union, Leone Zingales. Everyone agrees on the importance of a judgment that protects those who report on mafia crimes and attack the larger caliber bosses. The acquittal was also welcomed by leaders of the FNSI, who called the lawsuit against the journalist “foolhardy”, and the president of the Order of Journalists Enzo Iacopino who, Giacalone says, “contacted me personally.”
Giacalone’s lawyers have cited a wealth of jurisprudence, highlighting how “the more well known the subject of which you write, the wider the latitude of criticism.”
Shortly after the notification of the lawsuit, forty relatives of Mafia victims wrote an open letter in which they expressed solidarity with the journalist and asked the widow of Agate to drop the complaint and dissociate herself from the criminal enterprises of her husband. The petitioners furthermore requested the judiciary to reject the “claim to defend a good reputation which does not exist, this attempt to abuse of justice to address threatening messages to Rino Giacalone and all the journalists who, like him, in the face of general indifference have the courage to remember the atrocious crimes of which certain persons are guilty, and to say that the so-called men of honor, in fact, have no honor. ”