• Italy's news in English
 

Convict Silvio Berlusconi braces for key court date

Published: 10 Apr 2014 09:24 GMT+02:00

The court in Milan has to issue its ruling by April 15th, deciding whether the disgraced billionaire tycoon will do community service or be placed under house arrest following a conviction for tax fraud from last year.

The court appointment is a further humiliation for Berlusconi, who has already been expelled from parliament over his conviction and is banned from standing as a candidate in elections for six years.

The hearing in Milan is due to start at 1500 GMT and Berlusconi's presence cannot be excluded, although he most often skips his many court appointments as defendants in Italy are not compelled to attend.

Following court procedure for this type of post-sentencing hearing, it will be preceded on the same day by around 50 other cases for convicts whose surnames also begin with "B", Italian media reported.

Among the cases being heard on the same day are those of a drug addict asking to be released from house arrest and a Senegalese migrant appealing against deportation order, Italian media reported.

Berlusconi has also received a visit from a social worker at his sprawling mansion outside Milan as part of legal procedures ahead of the court hearing, which will be followed by more visits in the months to come.

The ruling will come at a critical time for Berlusconi on the political front ahead of European elections next month as he remains the figurehead leader and main force behind Italy's top centre-right party.

His Forza Italia group has fallen behind in the opinion polls faced with a resurgent centre-left under Prime Minister Matteo Renzi but under normal conditions Berlusconi would still be a formidable rival.

Berlusconi was sentenced to a year's prison for the fraud, which involves the sale and purchase of film distribution rights by his business empire Mediaset.

But the 77-year-old politician will not have to go to prison because of the leniency shown in Italian courts to over-70s who are convicted of non-violent crimes.

The sentence is also highly likely to be further reduced for good behaviour to less than a year.

Experts say it is most probable the court will decide for community service since this is Berlusconi's first definitive conviction despite more than 20 years of legal tussles that he says show judicial prejudice.

Community service could involve working in a non-governmental organisation or religious charity and a long series of publicity-seeking charities have already signalled their readiness to take him in.

The latest media reports say that the Milan office in charge of the execution of sentences has put in a request to the court that Berlusconi work in an old person's home outside Milan for one day a week.

The conditions are easier than house arrest but Berlusconi will still have to respect a curfew and will be banned from meeting other people with criminal convictions, which includes at least one close friend.

There will also be some limits on his movements.

Under normal rules he would not be allowed to leave the borders of the Lombardy region where Milan is and will have to seek a special exemption for example if he wants to travel to Rome for political engagements.

"If he gets community service then that might take another month or two to implement," a source close to Berlusconi's defence said.

Berlusconi claims total innocence of any crime that he has ever been charged with and regularly accuses a large part of the Italian judiciary of ganging up against him because of a leftist political bias..

He is currently involved in two other court cases.

In an trial set to start on June 20th, he will appeal a seven-year prison sentence and lifetime ban from parliament for having sex with an underage 17-year-old prostitute and abusing his official powers.

He is also a defendant in a trial for allegedly paying a €3 million bribe to get a senator to join his party's ranks in 2006 in a move that helped bring down a rival centre-left government.

Your comments about this article

Today's headlines
Women in love a 'problem' for Berlusconi
Silvio Berlusconi (R) with his fiancée Francesca Pascale. Photo: Alberto Pizzoli/AFP

Women in love a 'problem' for Berlusconi

Former premier Silvio Berlusconi has lamented women falling in love with him as a lifelong problem. READ  

Renzi seeks key role for Russia in Libya crisis
Italy's premier Matteo Renzi with Russian President Vladimir Putin in Moscow on Thursday. Sergei Karphukin/AFP

Renzi seeks key role for Russia in Libya crisis

Italian Prime Minister Matteo Renzi said on Thursday Russia could play a decisive role in resolving the crisis in Libya, during a rare visit by a European leader to Moscow. READ  

Children among 50 migrant dead: IOM
Migrants in Sicily after being brought to the Italian island by the coast guard. Photo: Gabriel Bouys/AFP

Children among 50 migrant dead: IOM

The latest migrant drowning tragedy in the Mediterranean claimed at least 50 lives, 40 more than first thought, the International Organisation for Migration (IOM) said on Thursday. READ  

Skiers in cable car drama amid Italy storms
The Ciampinoi cable car in Val Gardena ground to a halt after a tree was blown over onto the cable. Photo: Leo Setä

Skiers in cable car drama amid Italy storms

Around 200 holiday skiers in the Italian Dolomites were winched to safety on Thursday after getting stranded in cable car cabins buffeted by 130km an hour winds. READ  

Italy plans bid for 2023 Rugby World Cup
Italian Rugby Federation bosses have officially confirmed their interest in hosting the 2023 World Cup. Photo: Andreas Solaro/AFP

Italy plans bid for 2023 Rugby World Cup

Italian Rugby Federation (Fir) bosses have officially confirmed their interest in hosting the 2023 World Cup. READ  

Italian stripped of World Press Photo award
World Press Photo said Giovanni Troilo had broken the rules governing the awards. Photo: Robin Utrecht/ANP/AFP

Italian stripped of World Press Photo award

An Italian photographer has been stripped of a prestigious World Press Photo award after lying about the location of the image shot in Belgium. READ  

Italians cheesed off over US parmesan copies
Parmesan makers have cried foul over the huge scale on which the famous Italian cheese is copied in the United States. Photo: Parmesan photo: Shutterstock

Italians cheesed off over US parmesan copies

Parmesan makers cried foul on Thursday over the huge scale on which the famous Italian cheese is copied in the United States. READ  

Italy's gender pay gap getting worse
No EU country has achieved full gender pay equality. Pay gap photo: Shutterstock

Italy's gender pay gap getting worse

Italy's gender pay gap is increasing, with women on average earning 7.3 percent less than men and rarely making it into managerial positions, figures released on Thursday show. READ  

Unesco praises Italy for efforts to save Pompeii
Unesco has praised Italy for its efforts to save Pompeii. Photo: Pompeii photo: Shutterstock

Unesco praises Italy for efforts to save Pompeii

Two years after Unesco gave Italy a stern rebuke over its upkeep of the Roman city of Pompeii, the UN cultural agency has praised the country for the strides made in maintaining the site. READ  

M5S politicians in €10m salary gift to Italians
Italian businesses will be able to apply for a cash injection of up to €35,000. Business photo: Shutterstock

M5S politicians in €10m salary gift to Italians

Politicians from the Five Star Movement are giving €10 million of their salaries and unspent allowances to Italian business owners and entrepreneurs, the party announced on Wednesday. READ  

RECEIVE OUR NEWSLETTER AND ALERTS
International
Why Libya is ringing alarm bells in Italy
National
How Islamic college plan has split Italian town
National
James Bond's best Italian moments
Sport
Purrfect catch: Italian twins land giant catfish
National
VIDEO: Massive sinkhole opens up in Naples
Culture
Italians 'don't love' their language
National
In pictures: Italians mock Isis on Twitter
Opinion
Could Isis terrorists really invade Italy?
International
EU to increase migrant aid to Italy
National
Lampedusa: Tiny Italian island swamped by migrant tide
Culture
Italy sells off Mussolini buildings to raise cash
National
Italians are Europe's most reckless drivers
National
Why flirty Italians still don't do online dating
Gallery
Top 10: the most romantic places to propose in Italy
National
Top 10: your favourite Italian words
International
Bond meets Snowden: The HSBC whistleblower
Education
Ten common mistakes Italians make in English
National
What makes life in Bolzano so good?
National
Swiss town's ploy against workers living in Italy 'not racist'
International
What's keeping UK expats from voting?
Travel
How the weak euro is boosting tourism to Italy
Politics
Italy sends mixed signals on Greek debt
National
Top 10 delightfully irrational Italian superstitions
Politics
Sergio Mattarella: Sicilian 'man of the law'
National
10 Italian words used differently in English
National
26-year jail term sought for Concordia captain
Vatican
What did you think of the Pope's rabbit rant?
Culture
Italy seizes more than 5,000 looted artefacts
International
How can an American get Italian citizenship?
Travel
Italian hotel named best in world for families
Culture
Top 15 English words reinvented by Italians
Culture
Top 10: The best Italian inventions
Politics
Deputy Senate chief in Syria hostage sex row
National
A portrait of modern Italy in 10 stats
National
Muslims in Italy react to new Charlie Hebdo
National
Europe in statistics - from Spain to Sweden
Culture
Rome's Trevi pays tribute to late La Dolce Vita star
Politics
Paris attacks: Knock-on effects across Europe
National
Should Italy spy more after the Paris attack?
National
Italy moves to widen smoking ban
National
New mosque ban in Padua after Paris attacks
Business & Money
Italy banks on a future with foreign investors
National
Sicily bridge collapses within days of opening
Latest news from The Local in Austria

More news from Austria at thelocal.at

Latest news from The Local in Switzerland

More news from Switzerland at thelocal.ch

Latest news from The Local in Germany

More news from Germany at thelocal.de

Latest news from The Local in Denmark

More news from Denmark at thelocal.dk

Latest news from The Local in Spain

More news from Spain at thelocal.es

Latest news from The Local in France

More news from France at thelocal.fr

Latest news from The Local in Norway

More news from Norway at thelocal.no

Latest news from The Local in Sweden

More news from Sweden at thelocal.se

996
jobs available