Former Italian Prime Minister Silvio Silvio Berlusconi has been sentenced to seven years behind bars after being convicted of having sex with a minor.

Berlusconi (76), a three time Prime Minister, has courted controversy over the course of his public and private life. He has also been banned from ever holding public office again.

The charges stem from allegations that Berlusconi paid for sex with a then 17-year-old dancer Karima El-Mahroug at a series of debaucherous 'bunga bunga' parties and then attempted to dissuade Italian police from charging her when she was subsequently arrested for theft, falsely claiming that El-Mahroug was a niece for former Egyptian president Hosni Mubarek.

However, while this is a blow for Italy's People of Freedom coalition currently in power, it is unlikely that Berlusconi will spend so much as a night in jail, owing to incredibly lenient sentencing guidelines in Italy for people over the age of 70. It is also expected that Berlusconi's legal reps will begin and extensive and lengthy appeals process.

Still, barring some sort of miracle, this is the end of Silvio Berlusconi having any sort of say in the political winds of Italy.

Image: REUTERS/Remo Casilli