He Took an Eggplant 9 Years Ago. Finally, Closure

Italy's Supreme Court acquits man who lifted the fruit to feed his child
By Jenn Gidman,  Newser Staff
Posted Mar 28, 2018 7:41 AM CDT
He Took an Eggplant 9 Years Ago. Finally, Closure
Eggplants are displayed with summer fruits and vegetables at a farmers market in Falls Church, Va., on July 28, 2017.   (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)

In Italy's own version of Les Misérables, a man who's fought a nearly 10-year legal battle over an eggplant finally got his reprieve from the country's court of last resort. Per AFP, the unnamed man, then 49, was nabbed by cops in 2009 emerging from private property near Lecce in southern Italy, along with a bucket holding a lone eggplant. His excuse: He had no job and needed to feed his child. The police apparently weren't swayed, and so began an almost decade-long wrangle with the justice system, which first hit him with a five-month prison sentence and a $620 fine.

On appeal, that penalty was knocked down to just two months behind bars and a $150 fine, but the defendant's lawyers pressed to keep the case alive, bringing it all the way to Italy's Supreme Court of Cassation. It was there that the court did some head-shaking that the case had even made it this far—and cost taxpayers nearly $10,000, per local paper La Repubblica—and acquitted the man, noting he "was definitely acting to satisfy the hunger of his family … there are grounds for justification." (Americans may be less apt to lift an eggplant, because apparently we don't love eggplant.)

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