Agence France-Presse reports
that a lawyer, named only as Vittorio, sued his cousin Alberto, a justice of the peace, for hurling the common insultory phrase during a courtroom argument in the southern city of Potenza
The case was decided in Rome by Italy's Supreme Court of Cassation
, the highest in the nation.
Vittorio's attorney had successfully argued that the insult implied that his client was "worth less than other men because he did not have the attributes."
Judge Maurizio Fumo said in his ruling that accusing a man of having 'no balls' is "injurious."
"Apart from the vulgarity of the term used, the expression definitely also has an injurious quality," he wrote.
"It refers not only to the target's lack of virility but also his weakness of character, lack of determination, competence and coherence-- virtues that, rightly or wrongly, are still identified as pertaining to the male gender."
Judge Fumo also said that because the insult occurred at Vittorio's workplace, his reputation may have suffered as a result.
Alberto's fine will be determined by the judge.