From RTE News
An Italian judge has ordered that the country's Prime Minister, Silvio Berlusconi, should stand trial on charges of paying for sex with an underage girl and of abuse of power.
Giving her decision today, Judge Cristina Di Censo also ordered that the trial be held as soon as possible - a date of 6 April has been given.
The offences with the underage prostitute are alleged to have occurred at the 74-year-old billionaire's private villa outside Milan.
Yesterday, Mr Berlusconi said he had no intention of stepping down, and dismissed a weekend demonstration by almost 1m women across the country over the scandal.
He has denied doing anything illegal in the case and says he has been targeted by politically motivated judges backed by the left who are determined to bring him down.
Italy's constitutional court last month removed the automatic immunity from trial Mr Berlusconi had previously enjoyed. The prime minister is also due to face trial in three unrelated embezzlement and fraud trials in the coming weeks.
Prosecutors accuse Mr Berlusconi of paying for sex with a nightclub dancer when she was under 18, which is against the law in Italy.
They also accuse him of abusing the powers of his office by pressuring police to have her released from custody over theft allegations.
Mr Berlusconi has dismissed the investigation against him as 'disgusting and disgraceful' but he has come under pressure from groups including the Vatican and Italy's main business lobby, Confindustria. Polls show his image has suffered.