Pope's ex-butler jailed for theft6 October 2012
Vatican judges today sentenced Pope Benedict XVI's former butler to 18 months' imprisonment for aggravated theft.
Prosecutors had called for Paolo Gabriele to receive a three-year sentence for the theft and leaking of confidential papal documents, but the panel of three judges issued the shorter sentence after taking into account Gabriele's lack of a criminal record, his apology to the Pope and his past services rendered to the Church.
Judges also ordered him to pay legal expenses for the trial.
The sentence was read out this morning at the fourth and final session of the week-long "Vatileaks" trial that marks the worst breach of Vatican security in living memory.
Gabriele's defence lawyer had asked for the court to downgrade the charge of aggravated theft to a lesser charge of "misappropriation" of the documents. Cristina Arru argued that Mr Gabriele had simply photocopied the documents in the Pope's offices, and had not removed the originals.
Father-of-three Gabriele, 46, in a final address to the court this morning insisted that he was not a thief.
"The thing that I feel strongly in me is the conviction that I acted only out of visceral love for the Church of Christ and for its visible head [the Pope]," he said.
It is expected that Pope Benedict will grant the 46-year-old father of three a pardon.
Among the witnesses called to give testimony at this week's trial were Mgr Georg Gänswein, the Pope's private secretary, several Vatican gendarmes and a consecrated woman who works in the papal apartments.
A computer technician from the Vatican's Secretariat of State, Paolo Sciarpelleti, is to be tried for aiding and abetting Mr Gabriele. The Vatican has given no indication about when that trial will be held, but officials have indicated that he is likely to get a suspended sentence.
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