On 4 July 2017, Law n. 103 of 23 June 2017 (hereinafter, “Law no. 103/2017”) was published in the Official Gazette, introducing significant changes to the Criminal Code and the Code of Criminal Procedure.

The Legislator has introduced the suspension of the proceedings in the event of a conviction.

In particular, art. 159 of the Criminal Code, as amended, provides that the limitation period is suspended:

  • from the deadline provided for filing the grounds of the sentence of a first instance verdict until the delivery of the judgment of the next grade, for a period not exceeding one year and six months; 
  • from the deadline for filing the grounds of the second instance judgment until the final judgment, for a time not exceeding one year and six months.

Additionally, if the defendant is acquitted or the conviction is set aside, the suspension period of the previous judgment will be calculated in the limitation period.

The new rules concerning the limitation period apply only to the facts committed after 3 August 2017, the date the law enters into force.

Law no. 103/2017 also introduced the extinction of the crime for remedial behaviour.

Under the new art. 162 ter of the Criminal Code, in cases in which prosecution is conditional on an action being brought, the court shall call for the extinguishing of the crime, after hearing the parties and the aggrieved, when the defendant has fully repaired, within the maximum period of the opening statement of the first-instance hearing, the damage caused by the offense, by means of refunds or compensation, and has eliminated, if possible, the damaging or dangerous consequences of the offense.

The offense is also extinguished following a tender of payment under article 1208 et seq. of the Civil Code, formulated by the defendant and not accepted by the aggrieved party, if the Court acknowledges the congruity of the sum offered.

Law no. 103/2017 also provides for more serious penalties for Mafia-related Political Election Exchange, theft, robbery and aggravated extortion.

Finally, the Legislator made some changes to the Criminal Procedure Code, reintroducing:

  • according to art. 599 bis of the Criminal Procedure Code (plea bargain, also with a waiver of the grounds for appeal) the plea bargain before the Court of Appeal, which provides that the parties may agree upon the sentence, with the acceptance of certain grounds of appeal and the waiver of other grounds;
  • the appeal against the judgement to not prosecute, which previously could only be challenged in the Court of Cassation.

Furthermore,

  • the defendant is denied the possibility to put forth the appeal before the Court of Cassation, which must necessarily be signed by a lawyer authorised to practise before the Court of Cassation;
  • the invalidity of the dismissal order should not be challenged by appeal before the Court of Cassation, but by a complaint before a single judge of the Tribunal.