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Italy's top court just ruled that bribing a police officer is legal

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The police officer in this picture is not taking a bribe, not even a small one Photo: Andreas Solaro/AFP
10:29 CET+01:00
Italy's top court has ruled that a drunk driver did absolutely nothing wrong when he tried to bribe a police officer.

The Court of Cassation acquitted the man of corruption – because the €100 he offered the official to avoid being convicted of drunk driving was too small. Bribes of €100 are not big enough to be deemed corruption, the court ruled.

The court also said that due to the man's state of drunkenness, he was not of “sound mind” when he offered the police officer money to turn a blind eye, Today.it reported.

For a bribery attempt to be classified as corruption, Italian law states: "It is neccesary that the offer is made with approprate seriousness,” and also “that the attempt is able to psychologically unsettle the public official".

In light of the man's inebriated state, and the small sum being offered, the court ruling stated that the case does not constitute corruption and that the "charge should be cancelled without delay".

But even though he escaped a bribery conviction, the man has not avoided a conviction for driving under the influence of alcohol, which in Italy carries a fine of between €500 and €6,200, a license ban of between six and 12 months, and six to 12 months in prison – depending on the driver's level of intoxication.

This isn't the only time Italy's supreme court has made a bizarre ruling.

Last year it rejected an appeal from the iconic carmaker, Fiat, over its decision to fire a man who watched porn films during his lunch break.

The man had argued that his porn viewing was limited to merely “catching a glimpse” of a film during his lunch break. As there was no evidence of the habit seeping into his normal working hours, the Court of Cassation ruled he could not be fired.

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