Italy’s top court has ruled that a law giving Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi immunity from prosecution is unconstitutional.
The law was one of Berlusconi’s first acts after he formed his latest government last year.
Today’s verdict paves the way for two trials against him relating to false accounting and bribery to be re-opened. It could also spell trouble for his government.
A judicial source at the Constitutional Court told Reuters news agency that the 15 judges decided the legal immunity violated the principle that all citizens are equal before the law. They added that immunity would require a change to the constitution, not just a law passed in parliament.
A spokesman for Berlusconi has said the verdict is politically-motivated and that the prime minister would stay on in office.