In 2009, a 49-year-old man with a bucket in which an eggplant lay was caught in a private field near the town of Lecce, in the south of Italy. He told the police that because of a lack of earnings, he had to steal a vegetable to feed the child.
However, the court sentenced him to five months’ imprisonment and a fine of 500 euros. After filing the appeal, the term was reduced to two months, and the amount of the fine was reduced to 120 euros. The man continued to sue and reached the last instance – the Court of Cassation in Rome.
The court of cassation completely annulled the verdict and criticized the judges, who did not take into account the poor financial situation of the defendant and allowed the waste of public funds. Because of his financial situation, the man used the services of public defenders, which during the litigation took seven to eight thousand euros.