No pause for Berlusconi's trial
After deliberating for four hours, Italian judges yesterday threw out of the window the hopes of ex-premier Silvio Berlusconi to pause his trial so he can focus more on the upcoming Italian elections.
The ex-premier is accused of paying Karima el-Mahroug for sex when she was 17 and attempting to cover up the act. Both Berlusconi and the girl, who is known as Ruby the Heart Stealer, deny sexual contact. Ms El-Mahroug had appeared in court after missing the two previous sittings; however the judges held that they did not need to hear her testimony. The defence, which had originally called the girl to the stand, also said that there was no need to hear her evidence.
The Italian elections on February 24 and 25 will be witnessing Berlusconi at the lead of a centre-right coalition, however since the judges turned down the witnessing of Ms el-Mahroug a verdict is expected before the elections.
The judges ruled that while absence from court due to parliamentary obligations was accepted as a legitimate reason for a trial to be delayed, Berlusconi's absences for a political campaign was a personal decision.