• 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
'Italy will not be another Greece' says Renzi
Italian Prime Minister Matteo Renzi. Photo: AFP/John Thys

'Italy will not be another Greece' says Renzi

Italian Prime Minister Matteo Renzi said on Saturday that his country is no longer a "companion in misfortune" of debt-wracked Greece, as it was three or four years ago. READ  

Are Italy's drinking fountains safe?
Toxic? A drinking fountain in Italy. Photo: Sergio de Ferra

Are Italy's drinking fountains safe?

A study published by Italian consumers Altroconsumo this week would suggest not. READ  

Sollecito turns page with new business and book
Raffaele Sollecito. Photo: Fillipo Monteforte / AFP

Sollecito turns page with new business and book

He was a protagonist in one of the most controversial murder trials in recent memory, but Raffaele Sollecito is trying to put the past behind him and aims to open his own IT business later this year. READ  

Clooney rumoured to be selling Como villa
George Clooney's Italian house, Villa Oleandra, situated on Lake Como's south-western shores, in Laglio. Photo: Giuseppe Cacace/AFP

Clooney rumoured to be selling Como villa

George Clooney might sell his luxury mansion Villa Oleandra, overlooking Lake Como, over privacy concerns, according to news reports. READ  

Nesting flamingos a first for Sicily
Nesting flamingos at Saline di Priolo. Photo: Fabio Cilea

Nesting flamingos a first for Sicily

Last spring, a flock of 220 greater flamingos arrived at the Saline di Priolo nature reserve in Sicily. Just over a year later, 36 newborn chicks have hatched – the first documented time the majestic birds have bred in Sicily. READ  

Vegan parents probed over malnourished baby
A vegan meal. Photo: Jennifer/Flickr

Vegan parents probed over malnourished baby

The vegan parents of an 11-month-year-old baby who is being treated for severe malnutrition at a hospital in Florence are being investigated by police. READ  

 Italian nun brings life in DR Congo
81 year-old Italian nun Sister Maria Concetta talks with mothers at Zongo Hospital. Photo: Federico Scoppa/AFP

Italian nun brings life in DR Congo

Still going strong at 81, Italian nun and midwife Sister Maria Concetta Esu recently asked Pope Francis to bless her hands, which have delivered more than 34,000 African babies. READ  

Migrants take shelter in Italy Holocaust memorial
A migrant walks in the Shoah Museum - Binario 21 ('Platform 21') at the Central Station in Milan. Photo: Giuseppe Cacace/AFP

Migrants take shelter in Italy Holocaust memorial

Camp beds, biscuits and bottles of water: each night dozens of asylum seekers find refuge in an unusual yet highly symbolic place, Milan's Holocaust memorial. READ  

Renzi says Greece won't leave eurozone
Renzi: confident there will be no 'Grexit'. Photo: Thierry Charlier.

Renzi says Greece won't leave eurozone

Greece will not exit the eurozone regardless of the outcome of the country's referendum this weekend, Italian Prime Minister Matteo Renzi said on Thursday. READ  

Grexit could cost Italy €11 billion in interest
The Parthenon temple is seen behind a European Union flag in in Athens on July 2nd. Photo: Louisa Gouliamaki/AFP

Grexit could cost Italy €11 billion in interest

Italy could have to pay an extra €11 billion to service its bad debt due to higher interest rates if Greece leaves the euro, according to forecasts from the ratings agency, Standard & Poor’s. READ  

RECEIVE OUR NEWSLETTER AND ALERTS
National
How to keep cool like an ancient Roman
Travel
Chaos deepens at Rome's blaze-hit airport
National
Italy raises terror alert after attacks
National
Sardinia's poor give all to refugees
National
A beginner's guide to aperitivo in Italy
Fake Italian restaurant tops TripAdvisor ranking
National
Canton of Ticino threatens closing Italy border to asylum seekers
National
Italian grandfather, 91, completes middle school
Gallery
IN PICTURES: Is this Italy's most violent sport?
National
Italy smashes record for tallest Lego tower
Travel
Dark tourism: Italy's creepiest attractions
National
Italo-American cuisine mocked on Facebook
National
Italy's immigrants send billions back home
National
Why Italians aren’t having more babies
National
The pros and cons of being an au pair in Italy
French people told to stop scoffing Nutella in order to save planet
National
Italy: we'll hurt Europe over migrant crisis
Top that! Italy snatches pizza title from Spain
Travel
Most liveable cities: five neglected Italian gems
Bupa
Sponsored Article
Healthcare: 9 questions every expat should ask
Politics
Berlusconi and Putin: an enduring love
National
Italy has fourth highest petrol costs in world
Features
Six bizarre health tips Italian grans swear by
Turning away migrants 'heartless': Sicily mayor
National
Italy okays proton therapy in cancer case
Nuns stuck in lift for three nights 'drank urine'
Five insane ways EU money was blown in Italy
Yes, it's still a crime to insult Italy's president
National
Nine in ten Italians don't like Roma: survey
National
VIDEO: €619 fine for nuns' Italy beach photo trip
Politics
VIDEO: Mattarella meets Britain's Queen
National
VIDEO: Rome police help ducks cross busy road
National
Tide turning in Italy over gay marriage
National
Italian court tells veggie mum: feed your son meat
National
7 ways Italian culture will change your life
National
Italian town sets new Tiramisù record
National
US finds Pompeii frescoes robbed in 1950s
Travel
10 things to do in Milan when you visit Expo
National
Producer warns of global Prosecco shortage
IN PICTURES: Berlusconi joins Instagram
National
Italy starts to show the strains of migrant influx
Migrant gets permit for saving drowning woman
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

3,482
jobs available