A man in his 70s who was accused of insulting a subway sheriff after shouting profanities during an altercation with a subway sheriff over wearing a mask has been cleared of charges at trial.

According to legal sources, Judge Lee Won-won of the Seoul Central District Criminal Division 4 acquitted actor A, who was accused of insulting him.

The tribunal found that while it was true that Mr. A was abusive at the time, evidence such as eyewitness statements and video footage was not sufficient to identify the person he referred to as an "" as the sheriff.

Mr. A was summarily charged with taking off his mask in a carriage while traveling to Yongsan Station on Seoul Subway Line 70 at around 6 p.m. on June 18 last year and swearing at a sheriff who asked him to wear a mask during a phone call.

At the time, masks were mandatory on public transport.

The prosecution determined that Mr. A insulted the sheriff in front of several people by swearing at him several times until he was forced off at Seoul Station and kicked out of the turnstiles.

Mr. A said that he could not accept the prosecution's summary indictment and requested a formal trial.

He claimed that the person on the other end of the phone who was booking the train ticket for him couldn't get his credit card number correctly, so he took off his mask on the subway.

At this time, a quarrel broke out over the issue of wearing a mask, and Mr. A was forced to get off at Seoul Station, so he could not go to the scheduled commercial shoot.

The court ruled that "the defendant appears to have used abusive language to express his anger at the failure of the commercial shoot" and that "it is difficult to conclude that he made insulting remarks that would directly identify the victim and degrade the societal evaluation of his personal worth."

The prosecution appealed against the acquittal.

(Photo=Yonhap News)