Italian court rules public masturbation legal

  • 09/09/2016

Italy's highest court has ruled masturbating in public is not a crime after a 69-year-old man's sentence was overturned because "he only does it occasionally".

Pietro L was jailed for three years after he was caught holding his penis in front of female students from the University of Catania in Sicily, the Daily Mail Australia reports.

The case was appealed by his lawyers all the way to the Supreme Court in Rome. His lawyers argued a law introduced in 2015 decriminalised masturbating in public in front of women.

The accused also argued it would have been hard to see him touching his genitals because he did it around dusk when there was "reduced visibility".

He was first found guilty of indecent behaviour and sentenced to three months in jail and a €3420 fine however the decision was overturned by the Court of Appeal in Catania.

On Thursday, local time, the Supreme Court ruled "The act is no longer regarded as a crime by the law."

Pierto L will now face a fine between €5000 and €30,000 when reappears again in a Catania courtroom.