Italian court rules food theft ‘not a crime’ if hungry

Italy has ruled that stealing small amounts of food, if you desperately need it, is not a criminal offense. A man who stole food in 2011 was convicted of a crime but then later the conviction was reversed by the highest court in the nation.

The ruling was in the case a homeless man named Roman Ostriakov, who in 2011 was caught stealing a sausage and some cheese from a Genoa supermarket.

Ostriakov had hidden the goods, worth about $4.50, under his jacket as he paid for breadsticks. He was arrested after a customer informed the store’s security of the theft; and in 2013, he was convicted and sentenced to six months in jail.

This week, however, the Supreme Court of Cassation overturned Ostriakov’s theft conviction, ruling that stealing small amounts of food to stave off hunger is not a crime. The case has drawn comparisons to the story of Jean Valjean, the protagonist of Victor Hugo’s “Les Misérables.”

“The condition of the defendant, and the circumstances in which the seizure of merchandise took place, prove that he took possession of that small amount of food in the face of an immediate and essential need for nourishment, acting therefore in a state of necessity,” said the court, according CNN.” VIA –

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