updated 5/6/2007 8:54:47 PM ET 2007-05-07T00:54:47

A Vatican court for the first time has issued a drug conviction, giving a former employee of the Holy See a four-month suspended sentence for cocaine use, Italian news reports said Sunday.

The man worked in a Holy See administrative office and was recently fired because an Italian criminal court had convicted him of other offenses outside the Vatican, according to La Repubblica, the Rome daily. 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.

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