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Italy Allows Food Theft if you're Homeless and Hungry


Italy's Supreme Court has ruled that it will not hold homeless and hungry people responsible if they steal small amounts of food from stores in the country.

The decision was made in wake of the case of Ukrainian man Roman Ostryakov, who was caught stealing sausage and cheese, valued at €4.07 total, at a supermarket in Genoa by security guards.

After his arrest he was taken to court and was in turn sent to prison for 6 months, while also being made to pay a fine of €100.

But the Ukrainian man's lawyers claimed the sentence was unjust because he was caught with the items while still inside the store and not after leaving it without paying for the sausage and cheese.

However, the Supreme Court of Cassation saw this as a pure formality. Still, the fact that the man was hungry was not overlooked, plus he did not steal large quantities of food. He only took enough to satisfy his hunger.

During the retrial, the Italian court ruled that Ostryakov acted out of extreme desperation and as such it overruled the first verdict.

This inevitably led to looking at this crime from a pure human perspective. Can the poor and homeless steal food from stores in quantities to satisfy their hunger?

Sausage and bread

On Tuesday, Italy's Supreme Court looked at this issue. The conditions under which Roman Ostryakov was subject, as well as the world's hunger problem, were all taken into account.

When a person is facing a life-depending need, the fact that he has stolen a few products to satisfy his hunger shouldn't be considered a crime in a humane and civilized society, ruled the Supreme Court of Cassation.

Whether other countries will choose to follow Italy's example is still too early to guess but what is clear is that it's time to make positive changes that will help those who are starving.



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