The murderers of Vice Brigadier Mario Cerciello Rega have the right to a new trial, because the Carabinieri, who stopped them in the Prati district on that damned night on July 26, 2019, would not have qualified as officers. I do not believe it.
Hats off to the lawyer Roberto Capra who is guaranteeing the best defense to his client, Finnegan Lee Elder, and managed to highlight the fact that the American did not understand that he was facing two Carabinieri. Even if 11 stab wounds in 20 seconds to the poor Cerciello are a bit too many to be justified as a simple misunderstanding. At most, the lawyer will be able to avoid some minor aggravation for Finnegan in terms of years in prison, such as resisting or assaulting a public official.
As for Finnegan’s accomplice, Natale Hjorth, who didn’t have an active part in the fatal stabbing, he is seeking to significantly reduce his sentence, that had been committed in 22 years in prison, but I hope the Deputy Attorney General of the Cassation, Francesca Loy manages to prevent it.
In all of this legitimate guarantee for the defendants, I think it excessive to give importance to the chat of the Carabinieri, who, after the murder of their colleague, indulged into considerations that are certainly not appropriate, but understandable. Also because no one has carried out the power abuses which were wished in the chats and it is not a crime to fantasize about committing a crime.
It also seems excessive to me to accuse Fabio Manganaro of a “penalty measure not provided for by law” for having blindfolded Gabriel Natale Hjorth; we should not forget the policemen who died on other fatal occasions because the arrested person had managed to get hold of a gun inside the police station.
As a young private investigator working for an Italian private investigation agency, I was often stopped by the police during my work. However, it has never happened to me in dozens of cases that plainclothes officers, beyond their extreme recognition (all policemen in the world are the same), did not qualify immediately as officers.
It happened that I, as private detective in Italy, had to do long stakeouts that made the residents suspicious and I was surrounded by Carabinieri with their weapons drawn. It was in the eighties, when a young man like me, stopped on the street, could be mistaken as a “Brigate Rosse” member waiting to kneecap someone. Already at that time I noticed that there were careless policemen: some of them acted too superficially and they would have died if I would had been a red terrorist.
When I opened the first Octopus Italian detective agency in Bergamo, the red brigades were considered defeated and the police checks became loosen, I was stopped together with a private investigator colleague of mine and we were held in custody for investigations. But I was still armed, because the Carabiniere who did the body search didn’t find my pistol. Just outside the barracks I went to light a candle for him.
Over the years, the private detectives working for my Octopus investigative agency in Milan told me that sometimes they were stopped and searched by officers who had no idea how to intervene without exposing themselves to serious risks, but none forgot to qualify as officers.
I hope that the appeal of Cerciello’s killers do not breach our judiciary or any jury, in respect of who risks their lives on the roads to make them safer.