World News‎ > ‎

Court Doctors Say Berlusconi Not Too Ill To Make Court Appearance

posted 9 Mar 2013, 10:13 by Sam Mbale   [ updated 9 Mar 2013, 10:14 ]

Court doctors in Milan say Berlusconi not too ill to appear in court, but hospital says he still needs treatment.

MILANITALY (MARCH 9, 2013) (REUTERS) -  Milan court doctors ruled on Saturday (March 9) that former Prime MinisterSilvio Berlusconi could attend a trial where he is accused of tax fraud despite an eye condition that Berlusconi said prevented him leaving hospital.

Berlusconi faces a spate of trials this month and on Friday (March 8) a hearing in one in which he is accused of having sex with an under-age prostitute was postponed after he entered hospital with an eye complaint.

Doctors at the Milan hospital where he is being treated defended their diagnosis, said Berlusconi was not healing quickly enough to leave.

"Good afternoon everyone, I am here to tell you above all that the diagnosis that was given yesterday has been confirmed. Mr Berlusconi is suffering from Bilateral Uveitis which has only partially improved since yesterday thanks to the medical treatment carried out so far. There is an improvement, but the improvement is minor compared to what I frankly expected to see," said head of Opthamology Doctor Francesco Bandello.

"Particularly in the left eye there remain these adhesions between the iris and the lens, which are one of the symptoms of the inflammation that he has in his left eye. In light of this, to us it seems advisable that Mr Berlusconi remains in our care because only in this way can we guarantee the proper care and adequate monitoring of his condition," he said.

The 76-year-old media billionaire's lawyers have said the illness constitutes a legitimate impediment to his appearance in court, which could potentially delay a trial this month in which he faces charges of paying for sex with an underage prostitute.

Bandello said he had not read the report by court doctors.

"Not having read it, it is difficult for me to comment. But from what I understand the prosecutor acknowledged that this illness exists and all that we have claimed so far is true, but that his general conditions were not severe enough to prevent his transfer," he said.

The verdict in the case is expected on March 18.