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Monday, October 1, 2012


Vatican City,  (VIS) - At 9.30 a.m. today the Tribunal of Vatican City State began its first hearing in the trial of Paolo Gabriele and Claudio Sciarpelletti who are accused, respectively, of aggravated theft and complicity.

The judicial bench is composed of Giuseppe Dalla Torre, president; Paolo Papanti-Pelletier, judge, and Venerando Marano, judge.

The promoter of justice of the Tribunal is Nicola Picardi.

The defence lawyers are Cristina Arru for Paolo Gabriele, and Gianluca Benedetti for Claudio Sciarpelletti.

The accused Gabriele was present at the hearing, the accused Sciarpelletti was represented by his counsel.

The trial is public and is being followed by a pool of journalists: one from the "Osservatore Romano" and one from Vatican Radio, as well as eight others from Italian and foreign media outlets who will take turns in attending the court hearings. According to Vatican Radio, at the end of today's sitting Holy See Press Office Director Fr. Federico Lombardi S.J. held a brief meeting with the press during which he summarised the morning's events.

"One important aspect of the first phase", he said, "was the request made by counsel for Claudio Sciarpelletti to separate the trial against his client from that against Paolo Gabriele, on the grounds that it was not necessary for the two cases to be heard together. The judges accepted his request and therefore the trial against Sciarpelletti will be dealt with after that against Gabriele.

"Counsel for Paolo Gabriele, Cristina Arru raised a series of objections before the proceedings began, regarding the jurisdiction of the Tribunal, the documentation and the evidence thus far presented. Having listened to her requests, the three judges retired for approximately one hour and twenty minutes, then emerged to announce their decision. As I said earlier, they accepted the separation of Sciarpelletti's trial, decreeing that it should take place after Gabriele's. They rejected a number of objections raised by Cristina Arru regarding the jurisdiction of the Tribunal, the validity of the indictment and other elements, while they accepted a series of objections relative to the acquisition of statements, for example those relative to conversations which that took place in the absence of the defence lawyers, and other more specific matters".

"In concluding, the president of the Tribunal announced that the trial would continue with the next hearing, or rather the continuation of this hearing, at 9 a.m. on 2 October. The first item on the agenda will be the deposition and cross examination of Paolo Gabriele, because the accused is the first to speak in the proceedings. The other witnesses who have been called will then come up to depose. The president made it known that other sittings may also be held next week. He spoke of the possibility of four sittings during the course of the week, the desire being to expedite the proceedings. Precise forecasts as to the duration and the conclusion are completely inappropriate because everything obviously depends on the course of the debate".

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