Italian Laws Broken During the Interrogations of Amanda Knox and Raffaele Sollecito

The following Italian laws concern the interrogations of Amanda Knox and Raffaele Sollecito on the night of November 5-6, 2007.

Note: CP refers to the Criminal Code; CPP refers to the Code of Criminal Procedure

A violation of a CP article may result in prison sentence, while a violation of a CPP article may result in evidence being declared inadmissible at trial or other “nullity”.

CP 377-bis Inducement to not make statements or to make false statements to a judicial authority. (1)

Unless the act constitutes a more serious offense, anyone who, with violence or threats, or offers or promises of money or other benefits, leads someone to not make statements or to make false statements as a person called to testify before a judicial authority for the purpose of giving evidence in a criminal proceeding, when he has the right to remain silent, shall be punished upon conviction with imprisonment for a term of from two to six years.

(1) Article inserted by art. L. 20 of March 1, 2001, n. 63

CPP Article 350 Investigative questioning of the suspect

Paragraphs 2, 3, and 7

Prior to the investigative questioning, the criminal police shall require the suspect to appoint a retained lawyer; if he does not have one, the police shall follow the procedures of Article 97 para. 3 to provide a lawyer for him.

Investigative questioning shall be performed with the necessary assistance of the lawyer who shall be promptly informed by the criminal police. The lawyer must be present during questioning.

The police may also receive spontaneous statements from the suspected person, but their use is not allowed at trial, except to challenge statements made by the suspect at trial according to Article 503 paragraph 3

CPP Article 357 Records of criminal police activity

Paragraphs 1, 2, and 3

The criminal police shall keep records of all the activities they have carried out, including those aimed at identifying the sources of evidence.

The criminal police shall minute, among other acts, summary information and spontaneous statements made by the suspected person.

The police shall record information according to the provisions of Article 373, Recording of acts, including questioning of the suspect, and minutes shall be recorded according to the methods of Article 134, which include use of a stenotype machine or hand written notes accompanied by an audio or audiovisual recording.

CPP Article 63 Incriminating statements

Paragraphs 1 and 2

If a person who is not accused or suspected makes statements before the judicial authority or the criminal police that raise suspicion of guilt against him, the proceeding authority shall interrupt the examination, warn him that, following such statements, investigations may be carried out on him, and advise him to appoint a lawyer. Such statements shall not be used against the person who has made them.

If the person should have been heard as an accused or a suspect from the beginning, his statements shall not be used.

CPP Article 64 General rules for questioning

Paragraphs 1, 2, 3, and 3-bis

The suspected person, even if under precautionary detention or detained for any other reason, participates freely in the questioning….

Methods or techniques which can influence the freedom of self-determination or alter the ability to recall and evaluate the facts shall not be used, even with the consent of the person being questioned.

Prior to questioning, the person must be warned that:
a) his statements can always be used against him;
b) he has the right to silence, but must identify himself;
c) if he makes any statement on facts concerning the liability of others, he will become a witness in relation to those facts, except for the incompatibilities provided for in Article 197 and safeguards under Article 197-bis, which exempt co-accused from witnessing against each other unless their has been a final judgment against the one testifying.

If the warnings (a) and (b) are not fulfilled, the statements made by the person questioned shall be excluded. If the person questioned is not warned according to (c), the statements that he may have made on the facts regarding the liability of others shall not be used against them, and he shall not become a witness in relation to those specific facts.

CPP Article 65 Questioning on the merits

Paragraphs 1 and 2

The judicial authority shall clearly and precisely acquaint the suspected person with the offence he is alleged to have committed, make the elements of evidence existing against him known to him and, unless this obstructs investigations, inform him of the sources of evidence.

The judicial authority shall then invite the suspected person to explain what he deems useful for his defence and ask him direct questions.

CPP Article 141-bis Methods for documentation of the questioning of the detained person

Paragraph 1

Any questioning conducted outside the hearing {of a court} of a person who is detained for any reason is to be documented fully, under penalty of exclusion, by means of audio or audiovisual recording. The questioning shall also be minuted in summary form.

CPP Article 141-bis Methods for documentation of the questioning of the detained person

Paragraph 1

Methods or techniques which may influence the freedom of self-determination or alter the capacity to recall and evaluate facts shall not be used, not even with the consent of the person concerned.

CPP Article 364 Appointment and assistance of the lawyer

Paragraphs 1, 2, 3, and 4

If the Public Prosecutor must carry out a questioning, inspection or line-up in which the suspect must participate, the Public Prosecutor shall require the suspect to appear.

The suspected person who does not have a lawyer shall also be informed that he shall be assisted by a court-appointed lawyer, but that he may also appoint a retained lawyer.

The court-appointed lawyer or the retained lawyer appointed by the suspect shall be informed, at least 24 hours in advance, of the activities that are to be performed.

The lawyer has the right to be present during the activities referred to in paragraphs 1 and 3.

Note: In some cases, the wording of the law was paraphrased for brevity and clarity.


The Italian Code of Criminal Procedure: Critical Essays and English Translation. Edited by Mitja Gialuz, Luca Luparia, and Federica Scarpa. Wolters Kluwer Italia (c) 2014.

Italian Penal Code