Vatileaks: Here’s how the “holy” trial works

Vatican Insider

Two days from the trial of former papal butler, Paolo Gabriele, experts explain the Vatican’s criminal justice system in a briefing

Alessandro Speciale
Vatican City

The trial of Benedict XVI’s former butler begins Saturday. This may be an unprecedented case, but thanks to the Vatican’s rather lenient penal code – which copies Italy’s liberal penal code of 1913. Before that, it copied the notorious Rocco code introduced by the Fascist regime – Paolo Gabriele risks quite a mild sentence.

“Between 6 months and 3 years” but “if aggravating circumstances are added to this, it could rise to 4 years,” Professor Giovanni Giacobbe, Promoter of Justice (i.e. Public Prosecutor) in the Court of Appeal of the Vatican City State, the second of three levels in the justice system of the world’s smallest State. Today Giacobbe held a briefing with journalists to explain the Vatican trial procedure.

The main difference with Italy’s current criminal justice system is that it is the judge – in this case it will be the group of three judges led by Justice Giuseppe Dalla Torre del tempio di Sanguinetto, rector of Rome’s LUMSA University – and not the prosecution and defence who conduct the debate. He will interrogate the accused (Gabriele and Claudio Sciarpelletti, a Secretariat of State computer technician, accused of aiding and abetting a crime, which entails a one year prison sentence) upon the request of the parties present.

Note: This is an Abuse Tracker excerpt. Click the title to view the full text of the original article. If the original article is no longer available, see our News Archive.