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An Italian court has ruled that food theft brought about hunger is not illegal. Italy's highest court appeal, the Supreme Court Cassation, threw the conviction a homeless Ukrainian man, Roman Ostriakov, who was sentenced six months in jail for stealing cheese and a sausage worth $4.50. Mr Ostriakov was also fined $115 the trial court. His lawyers initially appealed a reduction in that fine and were surprised when the whole conviction was quashed. The court said Mr Ostriakov taking the food, "does not constitute a crime" because he stole a small amount food out desperation. The court appeal ruled that stealing small amounts of food to stave off hunger is not a crime.

Many people hope Mr Ostriakov’s case will highlight the extent poverty and homelessness Italy. They also believe the ruling may mean other hungry people who are arrested shoplifting will not be convicted. Criminal lawyer Maurizio Bellacosa said the Ostriakov case, "is a new principle, and it might lead to a more frequent application the state necessity linked to poverty situations". The court ruled a statement that: "People should not be punished if, forced need, they steal small quantities of food order to meet the basic requirement feeding themselves." Italy's La Stampa newspaper said: "The court's decision reminds us all that a civilised country, no one should be allowed to die hunger."

 
 

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