Vatican court convicts ex-employee for cocaine use

In a first for a Vatican tribunal, a former administrative worker at the Holy See has been convicted and given a suspended jail sentence for cocaine use.

The Houston Chronicle cites an Italian newspaper La Repubblica reporting that the man was recently fired because an Italian criminal court had convicted him of other offences outside the Vatican.

The Vatican tribunal convicted him of possessing cocaine, which was found in a drawer in the room where he worked, La Repubblica said.

The report did not give details, including the man's name.

La Repubblica quoted a Vatican judge, Gianluigi Marrone, as saying that the Vatican's legal code does not address illegal narcotics. Instead, the judges relied on international anti-drug conventions to which the Holy See is a signatory, Marrone was quoted as saying.

Another basis for the tribunal's decision was a 1929 Vatican law which allows verdicts in cases not covered specifically by its laws but which involve injury to "health, morality and religion," La Repubblica quoted the judge as saying.

Messages seeking comment from the Vatican's judges were not immediately returned. The judges are lawyers and laymen who serve on the Vatican panel.

Vatican hands down first drug conviction (Houston Chronicle, 6/5/07)

LINKS (not necessarily endorsed by Church Resources)
Cocaine (Wikipedia)
Vatican tribunals (Vatican)

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Catholic college in student drug bust (CathNews, 11/4/07)
Pope urges political action against drugs (CathNews, 5/12/05)
Teacher charged with sale of drugs in schoolgrounds (CathNews, 25/6/02)

7 May 2007