Italian Journal of Criminology

The official journal of the Italian Society of Criminology

by Cristiano Barbieri, Laura Barbero, Valeria Paliero

With the law n. 38 of April 23rd, 2009, the crime of Persecutory acts was introduced in the Italian Penal Code (ex art. 612 bis c.p.), realizing the possibility for victims to see their offender punished and to be refunded from the civil point of you for any prejudice suffered. This paper, starting from one case under forensic exam by the authors, intends to reflect on the relationship between mental disorder arising in the alleged victim of the offense and his/her suitability thereof to give testimony during the criminal trial. First, then, the problem of the causal link between persecution and protracted mental disorders found in the victims will be analyzed, with particular attention to the need to discriminate against any pre-existing psycho(patho)logic conditions that can contribute, as contributory causes, to the onset and stabilization of the overall clinical situation.

Next, we focus on the issue of victim’s eligibility to participate in the trial and testify about the events. Having said that, the victim constituted as a civil party has no obligation to bear witness, being able to prove the offense with sources and evidences different from the testimony (e.g. environmental interceptions, photographing, surveillance, etc. ), the role of technical advisor/ expert is twofold: from one side, to demonstrate if whether or not that causal link exists, using a technically correct evaluation; from the other, to evaluate “whether” and “far” the version of the declared victim is motivated by a mental disorder, and “if ” and “how far” it makes the plaintiff unfit to testify.

Professore a contratto di Medicina legale, Sezione di Medicina Legale e Scienze Forensi dell’Università degli Studi di Pavia, Via Forlanini n.12, 27100, Pavia, 0382.987800, cristiano.barbieri(at)

Cristiano Barbieri

Medico Specializzando, Scuola di Specializzazione in Medicina Legale dell’Università degli Studi di Pavia.

Laura Barbero

Medico Specializzando, Scuola di Specializzazione in Medicina Legale dell’Università degli Studi di Pavia.

Valeria Paliero
Contacts: Cristiano Barbieri, Sezione di Medicina Legale e Scienze Forensi dell’Università degli Studi di Pavia, Via Forlanini n.12, 27100, Pavia – E-mail: cristiano.barbieri(at)

From: Rassegna Italiana di Criminologia n° 3/2012



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