22 Jul 2012

Pope's butler returned to house arrest

9:08 am on 22 July 2012

The Pope's butler has been released from custody and moved to house arrest.

The Vatican said Paolo Gabriele will remain under house arrest pending a decision on whether he should stand trial for leaking confidential papers to the media, the BBC reports.

He was charged in May after a series of leaks exposed alleged corruption and internal conflicts at the Holy See.

In the so-called Vatileaks scandal, an Italian investigative journalist published hundreds of secret documents detailing fraud scandals, nepotism and cronyism within the Holy See.

Italian media reported in May that a stash of confidential documents had been found in the apartment Mr Gabriele shares with his wife and three children inside the Vatican.

Mr Gabriele's lawyer Carlo Fusco said his client had acted on his own, motivated by a desire to help the Pope.

The Vatican's judge has been instructed to examine the evidence of the case and to decide whether there is sufficient material to proceed to trial.

Italian media reported that if convicted, Mr Gabriele could face a sentence of up to 30 years for illegal possession of documents of a head of state.