‘No balls’: Insult merits a fine
02 Aug 2012
ROME — Italy’s highest court on Tuesday ruled that telling a man he has “no balls” as an insult is a crime punishable with a fine because it hurts male pride, in a ruling on a curious row between two cousins.
The case was brought to the supreme court by a lawyer named only as Vittorio against his cousin Alberto, a justice of the peace, for the phrase uttered during a heated courtroom exchange in the southern Italian city of Potenza.
“Apart from the vulgarity of the term used, the expression definitely also has an injurious quality,” the male judge, Maurizio Fumo, said in his ruling, as quoted by Italian news agency Ansa.
“It refers not only to the target’s lack of virility, but also to his weakness of character, lack of determination, competence and coherence — virtues that, rightly or wrongly, are still identified as pertaining to the male gender.”
The court also found that because the insult was uttered at the workplace, with third parties present, it could be seen as damaging Vittorio’s reputation.