London: Pope Benedict’s ex-butler Paolo Gabriele, who has been found guilty of stealing confidential papers from him and sentenced to 18 months in jail, is ‘very likely’ to be pardoned by him, Vatican spokesman Federico Lombardi said.
However, Lombardi also said it is not clear when this might happen. Presiding Judge Guiseppe Dalla Torre had earlier awarded a three-year sentence, but cut it to 18 months, saying that Gabriele did not have criminal records, because he apologized to the Pope and because of his past services rendered to the Church.
Before the verdict, Gabriele said he acted out of love for the Church and did not see himself as a thief. “The thing I feel most strongly is the conviction of having acted out of visceral love for the Church of Christ and of its leader on earth,” he said, adding: “I do not feel I am a thief”.
According to the BBC, he had denied the theft charge, but admitted photocopying documents and ‘betraying the Holy Father`s trust’. Gabriele’s lawyer Cristiana Arru said she did not intend to appeal against the verdict.
The former butler was accused of stealing and copying the Pope`s documents and leaking them to an Italian journalist. According to the report, the verdict ends a week-long trial that revealed an embarrassing breach of security at the highest levels of the Vatican.