Over a year ago, an American man was caught using his cell phone on the subway in Seoul to take an up-skirt image of a female passenger. With the offending photo found stored on the man’s phone it seemed like a fairly open-and-shut case, but the court at which he was tried ultimately found him innocent of any wrongdoing.
You be the judge on this one…
The American man, said to have been employed as a teacher at the time, was apparently so enamored with the attractive female passenger that he had no choice other than to take a quick photo. The woman was wearing a mini skirt but sat with her legs crossed, so in order to get a better shot, the man nonchalantly moved closer to her before taking a picture with his cell phone.
His move wasn’t quite as smooth as he had imagined, however, as the woman clearly saw him take the naughty snap and trouble broke out. When the man’s cell phone was checked, a text message conversation about the woman and a photo clearly showing her inner thighs were found. Busted.
At the court hearing in Seoul, the man explained his actions in front of a group of seven jurors. He claimed that he had simply let his inner urges get the better of him, saying that the woman’s style was exactly to his tastes and that she was the exact kind of woman he dreamed of marrying. Faced with the vision of his perfect partner, he was unconsciously driven to take a photo, he claimed, and was able to offer no other explanation for his behavior.
In the end when the ruling came down, five of the jurors found him innocent. So what happened?
The judge ruled that the photo was taken in a public place, and thus such things are bound to happen. But the judge was unable to determine whether the man’s decision to take the saucy picture was motivated entirely by sexual urges.
To add insult to injury, the judge pointed out that it is not uncommon to “catch glimpses up girls’ skirts in public places,” ruling that no real harm was done.
So it appears the probable chance of seeing up a woman’s skirt was a good enough reason for the jurors and judge to let him off the hook. The strange thing is that the man didn’t mistakenly see up the woman’s skirt. He seems to have done it on purpose and even took a picture! But the court would probably disagree. Maybe the judge and jurors need to rethink what constitutes a mistake.
There is much debate on whether women should dress more modestly or whether men should just stop being perverts. I tend to think it’s the second one. As a writer from Hachima Kikou put it, “Asia’s legal systems might still be in the dark ages.” But we might be able to say that for the whole world.