Stealing food out of necessity not a crime, Italian high court rules

| 04/05/2016 | 28 Comments
Cayman News Service

Italy’s Supreme Court of Cassation, Rome

(CNS): A homeless man who was sentenced in 2013 to six months in jail and fined around €100 fine (US$115) for stealing €4.07 (US$4.50) worth of cheese and sausage from a supermarket in Genoa, Italy, has seen his conviction overturned after a court rule that taking food out of necessity is not a crime. The Supreme Court of Cassation, the Italian appeal court, found that Roman Ostriakov (36), a Ukrainian national who was caught in 2011 trying to take food without paying for it, was not stealing as he was hungry.

“The condition of the defendant and the circumstances in which the merchandise theft took place prove that he took possession of that small amount of food in the face of the immediate and essential need for nourishment, acting therefore in a state of need,” the court said, adding that the incident therefore “does not constitute a crime”.

The news story, which was first reported in the local media, has gone global as the decision went far beyond the basis of the appeal, which was calling for a more lenient sentence. Analysts believe the declaration that stealing when hungry is not a crime and the court’s decision was based on the Italian legal doctrine “Ad impossibilia nemo tenetur”, which means “No one is expected to do the impossile”.

Commentators in Italy have celebrated the decision, pointing out that court has ruled that the right to survival has prevailed over the right to property.

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Category: Courts, Crime, Europe, World News

Comments (28)

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  1. Aaron says:

    @11:41am; best comment, well said.

    This is the logical thing to state.

  2. Anonymous says:

    Just one cornetto…..give it to me…..

  3. Anonymous says:

    I’m kind of hungry right now.

  4. anonumous says:

    Did he break in and entered. What about asking for the food. These crazy Italianos

  5. Anonymous says:

    Thank you for your humanitarian views and for recognizing that man’s need. God bless you.

    • Anonymous says:

      He could have asked for food. No need to steal.

    • Anonymous says:

      Do you really believe that there is nowhere in Italy that provides for the poor? I guess shop lifting for food is now a green light.

      • Anonymous says:

        Supermarkets look out the lifters are coming, since some of our people believe the thieves have the right to take whatever they want. Limited mentality.

    • Jotnar says:

      Thank them when he breaks into your house or place of business. He couldn’t get a job or social security?

  6. Anonymous says:

    Thanks CNS for keeping us up to date with news from the Italian courts :0/

  7. Anonymous says:

    Remember the The Dormant Accounts Law 2010? It requires to transfer monies that are in dormant accounts to the Government after seven years of account inactivity. Just SEVEN YEARS! Stealing the way I see it. Help yourself in other words.

    Meantime Michelle Bouchard, whose name was legally on the joint account got 12 years for ‘eye-watering’ theft.
    The former is more ‘eye-watering’ theft than the latter in my opinion.

    In states, unclaimed money are safeguarded indefinitely, in the Cayman Islands they are appropriated just after 7 years.

    • Anonymous says:

      I am baffled by her sentence. Apparently boopsing is illegal in Cayman for “some” women. To me she may have been wrong from a moral stand point but what she did was not illegal. Her name was legally on his accounts and or?? It wasn’t her money but she legally had rights to withdraw as she pleased and boy did she.

      • AlanP says:

        Agree. I hope she will appeal. If The Dormant Accounts Law 2010 justifies appropriation of someone’s money without permission (a theft in essence), her actions were not illegal, as she had been permitted by the virtue of having her name on the account.
        Her case should have been tried in the Cayman Islands to start with.

  8. Anonymous says:

    There we go. One can justify anything!

    • Anonymous says:

      Putting humanitarianism aside, what on the face of this earth is the point of fining a man 100 pounds who has to steal to stay alive?

  9. Anonymous says:

    Well maybe they’ll let me out of this damn place if i say i stole that $11.00 to buy food.

  10. Carrie says:

    Well done! Totally agree!

  11. Tekdemgreen says:

    Oh great. There goes my mango crop. Again.

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