The highest court in Italy has ruled that public masturbation is not a crime regardless of intent to be seen by members of the public.
One would think that the supreme court judges went with the decision that makes for the best story but due to recent government reform, the act was not included in the law as a crime.
Last year, the Italian parliament passed a law which decriminalized the act of going to places where girls are present in order to be seen masturbating. It only becomes a criminal act if a minor is present and witnessed the incident.
Italy’s highest court explained that the parliamentary ruling was basis for their decision.
La Corte di Cassazione, the supreme court, was asked to rule on the case of a man who was caught masturbating in the city of Catania.
The 69 year old man identified as Pietro L, was convicted after he was seen ”taking out his penis” and sexually gratifying himself in front of students at the University of Catania campus.
Pietro was arrested and sentenced to three months in prison. He was also fined €3,420.
With the highest court’s ruling now eliminating the criminal aspects of the obscure offence, only a fine can be given to such offenders.
La Corte di Cassazione ruled that the man must be given a fine between €5,000 and €30,000.
Pietro’s case will now head back to the local courts that initially sentenced him for the exact figure to be set.
Public masturbation remains a criminal offense in many other parts of the world where it carries heavy jail time and fines. Other places might see the offender lynched by the ensuing mob.