Decision of the Court of Cassation, I Criminal Section, No. 32619 of 23 July 2014

The Court of Cassation annulled a penal decision through which the Court of Appeal in Bari had reformed the decision of first instance without renewing the hearings of witnesses. The Court was aware that the need for repeating the oral phase of a criminal proceeding in order to respect the fair trial principle under Article 6 of the ECHR has been established by the European Court of Human Rights in cases of in peius reformation of a verdict of first instance (Dan v. Moldova, 2011). The same principle applies, however, also when reformation of the first instance verdict leads to the acquittal of the accused; and this also in the interest of the injured parties, whose protection is becoming of increasingly important concern to the European Court as is shown by its case law (Alikay et al. v. Italy, among other cases).