7 Oct 2012

Pope's butler sentenced to prison

5:19 am on 7 October 2012

A Vatican court has found Pope Benedict's former butler guilty of stealing sensitive documents and sentenced him to 1½ years in prison.

The court delivered its verdict after deliberating for two hours on Saturday.

The prosecution had asked for a sentence of three years.

Paolo Gabriele, 46, earlier told the court in his last appeal he had acted exclusively out of deep, "visceral" love for the Roman Catholic Church and the pope.

But the head judge said Gabriele had abused the pontiff's trust in him. However, he gave Gabriele a lighter sentence than that sought because he had no previous criminal record.

A Vatican spokesman said the pope would "most likely" pardon him. Lawyer Cristiana Arru said that until then, Gabriele will serve his sentence under house arrest in his apartment in the Vatican.