July 28, 2009

Italian court: ‘Cretin’ a slanderous term

Italy's top court ruled Tuesday against a Sicilian town councilor who had argued that calling a political opponent a cretin did not constitute slander.

The Cassation Court's precedent-setting ruling said accepting the defendant's argument was equivalent to accepting the thesis that there is an area of discourse where offensive terms have become so desensitized as to lose their criminal significance, ANSA reported Tuesday.

The judges said the defendant's case was an unacceptable assertion of inequality before the law.

The ruling, which upheld a lower court's decision on the case, imposed a $425 fine on the councilor.