Decision of the Court of Milan, III Criminal Section, No. 58053/10 of 25 June 2012

A criminal judgment of conviction cannot be pronounced on the sole ground of witness evidence obtained at the pre-trial stage and, thus, without that the defense had the possibility to put forward contrary arguments. Such a hypothesis, which is allowed, under certain circumstances, by Article 512 of the Italian code of criminal procedure, is not in breach of the Italian Constitution; however, it infringes Article 6 of the ECHR (right to a fair trial), as  interpreted by the European Court of Human Rights. The application of the European Court’s decisions into the domestic legal order requires that the national courts affirm, by means of interpretation, the existence of a prohibition to found conviction judgments – merely, or significantly – on witness evidences obtained during the pre-trial stage.