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Italian Court Rules Stealing Food is Not a Crime If You are Poor and Hungry


#1

Italian Court Rules Stealing Food is Not a Crime If You are Poor and Hungry

Nadia Prupis, staff writer

Stealing food if you are hungry and poor is not a crime, Italy's highest appeals court ruled on Monday.

Judges with the Supreme Court of Cassation overturned a theft conviction against a Ukrainian man who stole $4.50 (€4.07) of sausage and cheese from a supermarket in Genoa in 2011, finding that he had taken the food "in the face of immediate and essential need for nourishment."

In 2015, the man, Roman Ostriakov, was sentenced to six months in jail and ordered to pay a $115 (€100) fine.


#2

Every now and then the Light does seep through.


#3

I love Italy. Interestingly a similar case occurred back in the UK in the Thatcher years. A man went poaching to catch a rabbit or two to feed his family when all they had was a tin of peas and no money. He was caught, hauled before the full majesty of British Law for poaching on someone's land and was let off by the judge who followed the same argument when he learnt of the family's plight,

Good job that such a law was not recognised back in the late 1700s and early 1800s otherwise we British would not have been able to grab Australia.


#4

A view from a different angle.
"There is no more reason why the state should lend its machinery of constables, sheriffs, courts, and ... its prisons to the collection of debts of the individual, than that it should undertake to black his boots in the morning or tuck him in at night. The abolition of all laws for the collection of private debts would not only free our judicial machinery from a clogging mass of business which to a large degree prevents its performance of proper functions, but it would unquestionably lead to a far higher standard of personal and commercial morality, since character would then be the prime element in credit."
-- Henry George, 1888.
.
With that in view, what sort of criminality is punished if the most hard up take from those who are better off?
-- Looking a few minutes earlier at Ferguson MO, what should the community have done in the case of Michael Brown stealing cigarellos from a convenience store and battering the clerk of that convenience store?


#5

If they did it here, the prosecutor would scream "injustice!" and move to retry the case until they got this poor dude behind bars making license plates.
Glad he made it out, but the process had to be grueling. Such a cruel world under capitalism.


#6

Incarceration is big business in the US. Aside from the direct and obvious factors (many jobs for guards, cooks, etc.), businesses in recent decades have increasingly turned to cheap prison labor, pulling jobs out of communities, moving them into prisons.

The US shipped out a huge number of jobs since the 1980s, ended actual welfare in the 1990s. The last I heard, there are seven jobs for every ten people who still have the means to pursue one (can't get a job once you no longer have a home address, phone, bus fare). What do you think happens to those who are left out? They need to survive by any means possible, which ensures a steady supply of inmates. As the demand for cheap prison labor grows, the inmate population must be increased to meet that demand.


#7

Bravissimo!


#8

Do you think shoplifting, even hitting a clerk, deserves the death penalty? Put things into perspective. When a battered woman shoots her husband/partner, she is almost always sent to prison. But shooting to protect a pack of cigarellos can be justified?

Imagine if the US were civilized enough to ensure that every citizen had at least basic food and shelter -- even those who can't work, and those for whom there are no jobs.


#9

Going poaching to catch a rabbit or two, especially when a person's low on money and is trying to hunt for dinner for afew nights isn't a crime. Glad that the judge let the poacher off in question when he learned of the poacher's family's plight.


#10

Ah, but in Mother England you are always on land owned by the Crown and which a long time ago, around 1066, parcelled it out to barons and knights and lords and ladies etc all of whom have hunting rights from the Crown, even for rabbits, and rights to persecute a peasant should the aforesaid peasant want a cheap feed at milord's or milady's expense. One could probably still get sent to Australia for removing firewood from milord's land. Now; there is an incentive for theft!

Anyway, it was a story in The Guardian newspaper, probably back around 1994-1997. May have been just after Thatcher was made redundant as well as unwanted. There were a 100 000 homeless living in London at the time, as a result her policies so maybe it was around 1995..


#11

They should have tripped him up and sat on him as he left the shop, and made a citizen's arrest, after which he could have fallen down the stairs in the police station, BUT he would still be alive and a community would have felt less persecuted.


#12

"Imagine if the US were civilized enough to ensure that every citizen had
at least basic food and shelter -- even those who can't work, and those
for whom there are no jobs."

It would have to change its name to Scandinavia. And that would be Socialism at its worst.


#13

Well, the good news is that homelessness and hunger are only for poor people. Thankfully 'Murica is the richest country on the planet, therefore it has no homelessness nor children that go hungry...phew, close one.


#14

I am not surprised to see your DHFabian's first sentence, "Do you think shoplifting, even hitting a clerk, deserves the death penalty?"

Michael Brown died because he assaulted a police officer, not because he assaulted/battered a convenience store clerk. -- What would have happened if the convenience store clerk had pulled a gun? And my original question, what should the community have done in the case of Michael Brown stealing some cigarillos? (You DHFabian have only protested what shouldn't have been done...)


#15

I am curious, what is your source?
That was an issue decades ago, but opposition from organized labor put laws on the books of most states (all states?) mostly prohibiting that. And businesses can get better work from overseas than from forced prison labor.