An Italian court has said stealing food because of hunger is not illegal. The court reversed the conviction of a homeless man who was given six months in jail and a $115 fine for stealing cheese and a sausage worth $4.50. His lawyers appealed and got the whole conviction changed. The court said taking such a small amount of food was not a crime because the man stole such a small amount of food out of desperation.
People hope this case will highlight the poverty and homelessness in Italy. They also hope hungry people arrested for shoplifting will not be put in prison. A lawyer said the case might lead to more, similar decisions when theft is "linked to poverty situations". The court said: "People should not be punished if…they steal small quantities of food in order to…feed themselves." An Italian newspaper said: "In a civilised country, no one should be allowed to die of hunger."