Any seasoned lawyer would be quick to recount that our legislation, especially the civil law, derives heavy influence from the Italian Codice Civile, itself influenced by the Code Napoleon and ultimately the ancient lex Romana. Many legal actions such as the actio rei vindicatoria (an action to demand possession of a thing from another because you are its rightful owner) and the actio legis Aquiliana (to demand damages in tort) have been around for millenia and are still used to this very day. It is the spirit of law which is dominant in the Continent. However, as wise as Roman emperors were they were equally all-powerful; demi-gods of the Empire. This latter spirit also prevails in 21-st century Rome.

As I flipped through the pages of yesterday's The Times I couldn't believe the great sense of irony that manifested itself on page 17. At the top lay a big bold heading "Veltroni quits after poll defeat" and under it "Lawyer sentenced in Italian bribery case". The first article recounts how Veltroni, leader of centre-left Partito Democratico resigned after another big blow in losing the Governer's race in Sardinia. According to this article (cut+paste from Reuters) Veltroni was accused of having failed to capitalise on the economic recession which also penetrated the Italian peninsula, whilst 72-year old imperator (my choice of word) Silvio Berlusconi criss-crossed the island from his Sardinian luxury villa garnering support. In a normal world this would be a normal outcome; a display of maturity and knowing when to step down. But it is far from normality...

The other article, about bribery, recounts how English lawyer David Mills has been sentenced to 4+ years imprisonment for accepting a $600,000 bribe from none other than the imperator himself! It is ironic and absurd that a man, more concerned with his appearence and beautiful women then with running a country enjoys wide-spread political immunity from crime and ousts his political rival to boot. I wonder now, who should have been the man ro resign his seat?

It is sad that not many here on this little island give a damn about all this. It is only when a Communist MEP calls for abortion and gay marriage to be promoted through the entire union that makes the front page because political corruption and perversion of justice is far less scandalous then social equality and civil rights. It is sad that we continue to contribute to the status-quo. Perhaps our very own government has itself adopted some Roman tricks as it now wants to strengthen its power over the legislature.

Quo vadis giustizia?

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