Trial for the Palace of London, the defense asks for nullity: deeds not filed

Second two-hour hearing of the proceeding for illegal business carried out with funds from the Secretariat of State. The lawyers of the ten defendants highlight procedural flaws and ask to view the videos of the interrogations of Monsignor Alberto Perlasca, considered the main witness. The president of the Vatican Tribunal will dissolve “the maxi reserve” tomorrow

Salvatore Cernuzio – Vatican City

The new appointment has already been set for tomorrow morning and will be a crucial moment for the so-called “London Palace Trial”, the judicial proceeding for illegal business carried out with funds from the Secretariat of State. At 9.30, the president of the Vatican Tribunal, Giuseppe Pignatone, will read the order to establish the nullity or otherwise of the summons and therefore the cancellation of the entire process, which today reached its second hearing which lasted just over two hours.

Failure to file documents

“Nullity” was the recurring word in the interventions of the defense lawyers, who objected to the annulment “for failure to file documents” of the summons for the ten defendants. Among them, Cardinal Giovanni Angelo Becciu and Monsignor Mauro Carlino, the only ones present in the hall. In particular, the lawyers disputed the fact that the Promoters of Justice would have refused for reasons of privacy and to avoid undue dissemination to fulfill the obligations to deposit the missing material by 10 August, starting with the video and audio recordings made by Monsignor Alberto Perlasca, head of the Administrative Office of the Secretariat of State until 2019, of which only a summary report remains at the moment.

Trial standstill

The monsignor from Como – who had documents and computers searched in February 2020 – was initially among the suspects. Five times last year he was questioned by the Promoter of Justice, the last three as a person informed of the facts. After the first interrogation of 29 April, Perlasca spontaneously presented himself on 31 August without the lawyer Rita Claudia Baffioni, who, in a third interrogation in September, pleaded the nullity of what was previously declared by her client. On September 17, Perlasca revoked the office of the lawyer. The lawyers, considering Perlasca’s statements as the “queen trial,” said that until they can view the material they will continue to object. The risk is of a “procedural stagnation”. Pignatone took time and postponed the reading of the device that “will dissolve the maxi reserve forfeited up to this moment” until tomorrow.

The great courtroom set up in the Vatican Museums




The great courtroom set up in the Vatican Museums

Restitution of deeds

The hearing opened with a request from the adjunct promoter of Justice, Alessandro Diddi, whom he himself described as “surprising”, namely the return of the procedural documents (over 29 thousand documents) to the Promoter’s Office. Which would mean starting the process from scratch with new interrogations. According to Diddi, it would be an act of “common sense” to meet the needs of some lawyers who complained about the lack of interrogation of their clients during the preliminary phase, as well as a “concrete testimony that they do not want to trample on the rights of the defense”.

“False” evidence and attacks on the Tribunal

The promoter also spoke of “violent attacks on this Office and the Court” by some media, according to which “there is a sentence already written”. “It is not a correct attitude, they are forcing to undermine the impartiality of the judges”. As for alleged “false evidence” infiltrated in the proceedings, again according to some newspapers, the promoter stated: “This process is emerging as a set of controversies outside the lines. Tell us what these false tests are because we want to investigate who built them ”. Pignatone’s reply is ready: “Everything that is mentioned in journalistic controversies is irrelevant to this Court, what is in the records counts. Especially when we succeed in the undertaking of having a completeness of the documents “.

Apsa civil party

Taking the floor, the lawyers of the civil party (Secretariat of State, APSA, IOR) agreed to the request of the Promoter of Justice. Professor Giovanni Maria Flick, former president of the Italian Constitutional Court to which the APSA conferred the mandate on September 7, spoke of three objectives: “Collaboration with the Court, defense of the rights of the APSA, strict compliance with all rights of defense “. The civil party constitution of the APSA was contested by the lawyer Luigi Panella, defender of Enrico Crasso, because it risks “duplicating” the compensation claims already presented by the Secretariat of State.

Return guarantee

Both Panella and the other lawyers then defined the request of the Promoters of Justice for restitution of the documents as “inadmissible”, “inadmissible” or “inadmissible”. The lawyer Roberto Borgogno, defender of the former AIF director Tommaso Di Ruzza, spoke of “return guarantee”, saying he was “surprised” by the attitude of the promoter of Justice since “Di Ruzza was the subject of severe “(kidnappings and suspension from office), which had a” devastating “effect on his professional and personal life.

The reply of the Promoter of Justice

At the end of the two-hour hearing, the promoter Diddi replied, point by point, to the accusations of the defenders, invited to maintain a “serene” attitude on the part of Pignatone. “Nobody wants to deprive you of anything. We did not say that we do not want to give the videos but we asked for the possibility of protecting the confidentiality of third parties, ”he said in reference to Perlasca’s interrogation. Pignatone pointed out that the defense must, however, have all the documents available. There is talk of over 300 DVDs for a duplication cost of almost 371 thousand euros: “It’s not easy”, retorted the added promoter. For this the prosecution has made a choice of the material really relevant to the trial. But such data had to be removed before the subpoena, replied Pignatone. Diddi admitted that that was a mistake.

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