SEOUL — Calling somebody "bald" is not derogatory and does not constitute libel, South Korea's top court ruled Thursday.
A 30-year-old man only identified as Kim living in the southern port of Busan was charged last year with defamation after calling another man named Park "bald" during an online chat.
An investigation found that Park was not even bald, and Kim was convicted and fined 300,000 won ($265).
The Supreme Court overturned the decision, calling for caution in restricting free expression.
"The word 'bald head' might have been used to insult the plaintiff, but we cannot say from an objective viewpoint that it implies damage to the social status or reputation of people," the court said.
In South Korea, libel is a criminal offence that can be punished by up to seven years or a fine of up to 15 million won.
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