The wheels of justice often move slowly and, depending on the reach, power and wealth of the defendant, those wheels hardly seem to move if at all. Such is the case in the matter of Italy’s public prosecutors in taking on former prime minister Silvio Berlusconi.
He is a man who has the wealth of industry and standing, the influence of a media organisation and the reach of his former offices in Rome to fight accusations that he paid for sex with an underage prostitute. That a court in Rome found him guilty earlier this week and sentenced him to seven years in jail shows how far this buffoon has fallen.
The verdict was met with jubilation from victims of sexual crimes outside the courthouse while inside, Berlusconi’s lawyer said the judges went beyond the remit of the prosecution brief and that the decision was unjust.
Thankfully, one of the consequences of this verdict is that Berlusconi cannot hold public office again —— he will appeal the verdict and the sentence cannot be implemented until the appeal’s process is complete. But this verdict, along with an earlier decision that he peddled his influence and failed to pay proper taxes, shows that he is a man of blemished character. While his age and sentencing guidelines, along with a protracted appeals process, will likely combine to the effect that he will never see the inside of a jail cell, the effect is the same.