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Vatileaks: What happened inside the courtroom during the trial of the Pope's former butler

2012-09-29

ANDREA BACHSTEIN
Vatican Tribunal Pool Reporter

"He was kind of nervous, you could see and feel his movements and his gestures were of a person who is under a certain stress.”

He did not enter a guilty or innocent plea during the hearing. In fact, Gabriele's lawyer, Cristina Arru, objected, and raised concerns about the competency of the tribunal and the way in which information and proof was gathered. Among those concerns  is video footage from a camera located outside the Vatican building where the butler lives.

ANDREA BACHSTEIN
Vatican Tribunal Pool Reporter

"Well, not in the residence, not inside his house, home, but in the Palace he is living in, at the staircase of the Palace (building).”

The trial itself is expected to be short. It's scheduled to continue from October 2nd to October 6th, to give way for the Synod of Bishops on the New Evangelization, which will be opened by the Pope on October 7th.  Gabriele is expected to take the stand on October 2nd.

FR. FEDERICO LOMBARDI
Vatican Spokesperson

"The first thing that's expected is the testimony and cross examination of Paolo Gabriele, since in this case, the accused will be the first to speak. Eventually, other witnesses will be called in the trial proceedings.”

The trial is a first on many levels, especially for the Vatican's tribunal, which for the most part has only dealt with petty theft cases of tourists and pilgrims.

FR. FEDERICO LOMBARDI
Vatican Spokesperson 
"In a way this trial tests the competency of a lay tribunal in a case that's being held inside the Vatican's City State. It tests its capacity to follow the proceedings.”

The butler's alleged accomplice, Claudio Sciarpelletti, who worked at the Vatican's Secretariat of State, is charged with aiding and abetting the release of confidential documents. At the request of his lawyer, his trial will be held separately.

If found guilty, the Pope's former  butler could be sentenced to up to four years in prison.

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