SEOUL, Jun. 2 (Korea Bizwire) — The Seoul Western District Court has ruled that a man who said swear words to himself without referring to anyone during an argument can’t be charged with verbal abuse.
According to the court on June 1, a man known by his surname Kim got into a fight on the subway with a man whose thigh Kim dropped his MP3 player on twice, by mistake. Kim was drunk at the time.
The two had a verbal argument on the train before getting off. As Kim refused to apologize to the man for dropping his MP3 player, the man headed up a flight of stairs to report Kim’s actions to the station office.
That is when the man heard Kim swearing to himself, which drew the attention of people on the stairs.
The man sued Kim for insulting him in a public space. In the first trial, the court ruled that Kim’s actions were indeed defamatory to the man, and levied a fine of 300,000 won (US$ 269).
However, Kim appealed to the court, saying that he never said swear words at the time, and even if he did so, he did not insult the man as he only spoke to himself without referring the man.
The court then decided that Kim’s appeal was a reasonable one and ruled that Kim was innocent, as his words were not directed towards anyone specific at the time.
By J. W. Choi (firstname.lastname@example.org)