Italian Court: Stealing May Not Be Criminal If You’re Homeless

Well here in the U.S., we have the “temporary insanity” defense.

In Italy, they may now have the “homeless and hungry” defense, as that nation’s highest appeals court has thrown out the conviction of a man from the Ukraine, who was caught stealing about $5 worth of food (cheese and sausage if you must know).

The court’s ruling read in part: “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,” and therefore the theft “does not constitute a crime.” The man had been sentenced to six months.

ABC’s Tom Rivers is in London.