A woman in her 40s who went on trial for holding a one-person demonstration with a picket sign saying, “Don’t have an affair,” near a store run by her husband’s common-law wife was acquitted.

The Busan District Court West Support Criminal Division 1 (Chief Judge Lee Jin-jae) acquitted Ms. A, who was charged with defamation and obstruction of business, and suspended her sentence on charges of violating the Protection of Communications Secrets Act and injury, the court said on Oct. 23.

Ms. A was put on trial for defaming Ms. B’s reputation and interfering with her business by protesting near a store in Gyeongnam run by Ms. B, who was having an affair with her husband, for about four hours from 10 a.m. on October 24, 2021, holding a picket with the words “Don’t have an affair” on it.

At the time, Mr. A was sitting on the street next to a telephone pole near Mr. B’s shop as a one-person protest.

The court found it difficult to establish the offense of defamation given that it was difficult to guess who the target of the picketing was.

“There was nothing on the picket that would suggest that Mr. B was the target of the affair,” the tribunal said, “and it appears that there are a number of people other than Mr. B in the building where Mr. B lives.”

“The picketing did not identify the subject of the honor, nor did it reveal any specific facts that would diminish Mr. B’s social value or esteem.”

As for the business interference charge, the court said, “Ms. A was sitting with a picket sign at some distance from the store’s entrance and did not act to interfere with the passage of customers안전놀이터,” adding, “It is difficult to conclude that a one-person demonstration was sufficiently powerful to interfere with the operation of the business.”

Separately, the court deferred sentence for Ms. A’s unauthorized recording of her husband’s conversation with Mr. B. A suspended sentence is a judgment that suspends the sentence for a period of time for a minor offense, and after the period of time, the offense is deemed to be discharged (no longer prosecuted).

In October 2021, Ms. A secretly installed a small recording device in an office in Busan and recorded her husband’s conversations with Mr. B. She later sued her husband for damages. She later submitted the recorded conversation as evidence in a lawsuit for damages against her husband.

In October 2021, Ms. A demanded a memorandum from her husband admitting to having an affair with him, and in the course of the argument, Ms. A injured Mr. B during the argument.

“Regardless of who initiated the dispute and who is to blame, Ms. A’s guilt is not light in that she injured Mr. B and illegally submitted the recording as evidence in the case,” the tribunal said.

However, “the fact that the crime was committed in the course of protesting the cheating between her spouse and Mr. B, and that she is raising a minor child are favorable mitigating factors,” the court said.

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