Have you seen “The red corner – Guilty until proven otherwise” with Richard Gere? A legal thriller starring a supermanager, unjustly indicted for a homocide which he did not commit, used as a pretext to bring down a considerable business between China and the US, which he himself should have completed. In the background huge political and economic interests of some authoritative Chinese leaders who, however, boast opposing interests. Will the plot have the desired effect, or will it fail?
The judicial system, from the 1998 film, appears neither too democratic nor too democratic, and is in perfect antithesis with our own, where there is the presumption of innocence, or not guilt, sanctioned byarticle 27 of the Constitution, where the burden of proof rests with the prosecution. In Italy, therefore, one remains innocent until proven guilty.
The accused is not intended as guilty, until the moment of the final sentence. And from this derive two corollaries: the prohibition to anticipate the sentence, as well as the right to apply precautionary measures.
Illuminations on the subject were provided by the Consulta, back in 1972. In the pronunciation number 124, the constitutional judges ruled that the provision must be interpreted in the sense that the accused must not be considered either innocent or guilty, but only, and more simply, “accused”.
The European Convention on Human Rights, in Article 2, also takes up the content: “every person accused of a crime is presumed innocent until his guilt has been legally established “.
The burden of proving the guilt of the accused therefore falls on the public prosecution, while the defense has the task of proving the existence of facts favorable to the accused.
It is therefore not the task of the accused to prove his innocence, which must be presumed, but of the prosecution to prove his guilt.
Given the presumption of innocence, in order to publicly declare that an individual is guilty, proof is therefore necessary, beyond any reasonable doubt, that he is the perpetrator of the crime, proving that he was actually the perpetrator.
In cases where the evidence is insufficient or contradictory, the judge will have to issue a sentence of acquittal.
Which, for Richard Gere and his lawyer, in “L’Angolo Rosso”, was a complex undertaking. A battle against the Chinese judicial system, devoid of our own article 27. But with an unexpected happy ending.
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