8 Oct 2009

Berlusconi immunity law 'overturned'

10:30 pm on 8 October 2009

A law granting Italy's Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi immunity from prosecution while in office has been overturned by the country's highest court, according to local media.

The Constitutional Court was said to have annulled the law, which had let him withdraw from several cases, the BBC reports.

The law was passed soon after Mr Berlusconi came to power last year. Opponents say the granting of immunity violates the principle that all citizens are equal before the law.

There has been speculation in Italy that court cases against the prime minister could resume if the law was annulled.

When Mr Berlusconi came to office he was facing a number of court cases, including one in in which Mr Berlusconi was accused of bribing British lawyer David Mills to give false evidence.

Mills, who said he was innocent, was sentenced in February to four years and six months in prison for corruption.

The appeal to the Constitutional Court was launched by prosecutors from that case and two others.