Attorney-General Costas Clerides said on Thursday he would ask the president to authorise the write off of a €250 fine the Larnaca district court imposed on a 70-year-old man who had stolen a packet of chicken breast from a supermarket to feed his grandson.
The sentencing of the man caused uproar, with people saying it was an unfair and cruel measure to take against the pensioner.
The man was ordered earlier in the week to pay the fine after being found guilty of stealing last July the €6.40 pack of chicken to feed his diabetic grandson, who is under his care.
The man reportedly told the court that he was forced to steal as his pension had not arrived on time and he had no money to buy food.
The court heard that the man hid the pack under his shirt, but on his way out was stopped by a shop employee who had seen what he had done.
“It was a moment of shame for me. My pension had not arrived and I could not pay for it. I was forced to steal. My grandson suffers from diabetes and can only eat chicken. I could not bear to watch him go hungry,” the man was quoted as telling the court by daily Politis.
The daily also reported that the attorney-general’s office was asked for its opinion, which led to the man being prosecuted.
Clerides said on Thursday, however, that he was never consulted on the matter and that in cases of petty offences police act on their own initiative.
“They should however, exercise discretion and ask instructions for such cases,” Clerides told Sigmalive.
He added that courts too, ought to take into consideration all parameters in their rulings.
“Taking into consideration all the facts that have come to our knowledge in retrospect, this is a sad case. Our intention is to ask the president to grant a pardon by writing off the imposed fine,” he said. Only the president, he said, has the tight to order such a thing following the suggestion of the attorney-general.
Clerides said his office receives daily requests for debt write-offs from people who are unable to pay, or for suspension of imprisonment orders and other affairs.
“In cases when serious humanitarian reasons arise, our interference is positive and prompt,” Clerides said.