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The Supreme Court has ruled that repeatedly calling a mobile phone and keeping a record of "missed calls" should also be considered stalking and punishable.

According to legal sources, the Supreme Court's Third Division (presiding Justice Lee Heung-koo) broke the original judgment that acquitted Mr. A of some of the charges of violating the Stalking Crime Punishment Act and sent the case back to the Busan District Court on the 3th.

The Supreme Court ruled that "the act of causing anxiety or fear in the victim by making a phone call ringing or displaying a missed call phrase constitutes stalking, regardless of whether the call was actually made or not."

Mr. A was charged with sending nine messages and making 18 phone calls (in violation of the Information and Communications Network Act and the Stalking Punishment Act) after his mobile phone number was blocked after an argument with the victim, who was in a romantic relationship, over money.

In both the first and second trials, the court sentenced Mr. A to four months in prison and ordered him to complete a 9-hour stalking treatment program, but the verdicts of guilt and innocence on some of the charges were divided.

The victim never answered Mr. A's phone and only had a record of missed calls on his mobile phone, which could be considered a criminally prosecutable act of stalking.

The court of first instance found that both the text messages and the phone calls sent by Mr. A constituted acts of stalking.

Even if the call was not answered and it was a missed call, it was determined that the victim must have felt anxious and scared.

The court of second instance, however, held that the act of keeping a record of missed calls could not be punished as stalking.

It was based on a 29 Supreme Court ruling that the ringing of the other party's phone could not be considered punishable under the Information and Communications Network Act.

However, since October 1, the Stalking Punishment Act has come into effect, and a lower court ruling has established that the act of leaving a missed call record or ringing can also be punished.

The Supreme Court also stated for the first time in its ruling that such cases can be punished as violations of the Stalking Punishment Act.

The Supreme Court reasoned, "Although the Information and Communications Network Act requires that the sound itself transmitted to the victim 'through' the information and communication network must be content that induces fear or anxiety, it is sufficient for the act of stalking under the Stalking Punishment Act to reach speech, sound, or text by 'using' the information and communication network."

"If the information that the defendant wants to talk to the victim on the phone is transformed into a ringing sound, caller ID, or missed call phrase and appears on the victim's mobile phone, it can be assessed that the sound or text was reached."

The Court also added that "the sound or text conveyed does not require (in itself) to be content that causes anxiety or fear in the victim."