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Last Updated: Thursday, 12 May, 2005, 16:00 GMT 17:00 UK
Impotent husband must pay damages
An Italian man who married without telling his bride he was impotent must pay damages for abusing her "right to sexuality", a top court has ruled.

The man had failed to fulfil his conjugal duty and deprived his wife of the chance to be a mother, Italy's Supreme Court said.

His wife had already had the marriage annulled on the grounds of non-consummation.

The amount of damages will now be decided by a lower court in Sicily.

The Supreme Court's decision, published in the Italian media on Thursday, follows a lengthy legal battle by the woman, who argued that she deserved compensation for her husband's behaviour.

The couple had married without having had sex and their wedding night proved to be a disaster.

The woman said her husband should have warned her in advance and described his conduct as "contrary to the principles of loyalty, fairness and good faith".

Courts in Palermo, where the couple were married, rejected her argument, saying that the man "was not responsible for his ailment".

But the Supreme Court has now overturned the lower courts' rulings, saying the Italian constitution upheld the right to sexuality.

The court ruling said Cristina S had suffered "a violation of her fundamental right to fulfilment, in the family and in society, as a woman, a wife and possibly as a mother".

The case has now been sent back to the Court of Appeal in Palermo, which will decide how much compensation Stefano B should have to pay.

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