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Instilling Fear in a Spouse Is a Crime, Court Says

Posted January. 04, 2010 08:07,   


A Seoul court yesterday overturned a lower court’s ruling that found a man not guilty for allegedly threatening to kill his wife with kitchen knives.

The 38-year-old woman pressed her husband in May 2007 over whether he had an affair. He denied it and the couple began quarreling. He then put two kitchen knives on a table and reportedly said “I’ll kill myself with these knives if I had an affair.”

The wife later called police saying her husband threatened to kill her. Both made conflicting statements in court, however.

The man was found not guilty in the first trial in June last year. The court said, “[The man] passed a lie detector test and his wife’s statements were inconsistent. Given this, we find the defendant not guilty.”

A higher court overturned this ruling, however, saying regardless of whether he sought to hurt his wife, instilling fear in her constituted a threat.

“Though he said he would kill himself, this act can be interpreted as a threat to kill his wife and was enough to arouse fear in her,” the latest ruling said. “Whether he intended to kill her or not had nothing to do with his crime of threatening her.”

The man was fined 500,000 won (429 U.S. dollars).