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Old 06.05.2019, 19:26
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Private chats can be used in court?

Ok I'm baffled, my lawyer said you can be charged for defamation if you have a private conversation and in that conversation you "paint the person in a bad light" even if you are honest.

This can't be real?

So if I have a chat with Sara about a guy name Tim I met, I'm honest and at the end of the convo Sara thinks Tim is a jerk, she could find out who Tim is and report my conversation to him if she wants?

(not a real story but an example)

Is that even possible?
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Old 06.05.2019, 19:53
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Re: Private chats can be used in court?

Yes. Gossip and tittle-tattle can be used against you. Written or spoken.

It is also important what is said:
"I do not like him, I get bad vibes, like from a cheater" v.s. "I do not like him, he is a cheater".

Except you have undeniable proof that he is actually a cheater. But even than there are limits what can be said:

Art. 173 Swiss Criminal Code
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Defamation

1. Any person who in addressing a third party, makes an accusation against or casts suspicion on another of dishonourable conduct or of other conduct that is liable to damage another's reputation,

any person who disseminates such accusations or suspicions,

is liable on complaint to a monetary penalty.2

2. If the accused proves that the statement made or disseminated by him corresponds to the truth or that he had substantial grounds to hold an honest belief that it was true, he is not liable to a penalty.

3. The accused is not permitted to lead evidence in support of and is criminally liable for statements that are made or disseminated with the primary intention of accusing someone of disreputable conduct without there being any public interest or any other justified cause, and particularly where such statements refer to a person's private or family life.

4. If the offender recants his statement, the court may impose a more lenient penalty or no penalty at all.

5. If the accused is unable to prove the truth of his statement, or if it is shown to be untrue, or if the accused recants his statement, the court must state this in its judgment or in another document.
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Old 06.05.2019, 19:55
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Re: Private chats can be used in court?

Yes. As I understand it, in Switzerland it is not allowed to insult anyone, nor attack their honour. Not in direct communication with the person, nor indirectly to a third party.

It's fine to tell Sara: "I met Tim in the tram and I didn't like the smell of his aftershave," but not: "Tim stinks!"
It's fine to say: "He left the restaurant without paying, and I think that's really unfair!" but not: "He's a dishonest creep!"
It's fine to say: "I was so angry that he got the promotion," but not: "He must have slept with the boss to get that promotion."

EDIT: ASwissinTheUS was faster than me!
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Old 06.05.2019, 20:00
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Re: Private chats can be used in court?

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Yes. As I understand it, in Switzerland it is not allowed to insult anyone, nor attack their honour. Not in direct communication with the person, nor indirectly to a third party.

It's fine to tell Sara: "I met Tim in the tram and I didn't like the smell of his aftershave," but not: "Tim stinks!"
It's fine to say: "He left the restaurant without paying, and I think that's really unfair!" but not: "He's a dishonest creep!"
It's fine to say: "I was so angry that he got the promotion," but not: "He must have slept with the boss to get that promotion."

EDIT: ASwissinTheUS was faster than me!
We should censor what we say to our own friends?

But if it is true, and you say "He left the restaurant without paying, and I think that's really unfair!" that could still lead you to think Tim is a jerk, which is not allowed either.
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Old 06.05.2019, 20:07
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Re: Private chats can be used in court?

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But if it is true, and you say "He left the restaurant without paying, and I think that's really unfair!" that could still lead you to think Tim is a jerk, which is not allowed either.
Think yes, write no
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Old 06.05.2019, 20:11
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Re: Private chats can be used in court?

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Think yes, write no

Is that what normal people do with their friends?

Am I the only one who thought in a private convo we could discuss as we like? I mean this is the generation that in dating guys ask about anal within 30 seconds of texting and I get penis pics, was I supposed to not say anything negative about a man even if it's true?
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Old 06.05.2019, 20:12
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Re: Private chats can be used in court?

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Yes. As I understand it, in Switzerland it is not allowed to insult anyone, nor attack their honour. Not in direct communication with the person, nor indirectly to a third party.

It's fine to tell Sara: "I met Tim in the tram and I didn't like the smell of his aftershave," but not: "Tim stinks!"
It's fine to say: "He left the restaurant without paying, and I think that's really unfair!" but not: "He's a dishonest creep!"
It's fine to say: "I was so angry that he got the promotion," but not: "He must have slept with the boss to get that promotion."

EDIT: ASwissinTheUS was faster than me!
So if Tim didn't pay you would refrain from saying this to anyone incase Tim found out you spoke of his negative action?

Seriously?
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Old 06.05.2019, 20:14
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Re: Private chats can be used in court?

I might very well say that I found it unfair on the restaurant staff that Tim had left without paying. But it's the jump from there to the character-insulting "dishonest creep" is the part that's not okay. After all, there could be many other explanations for his behaviour. He may just have forgotten to pay.

My reason for not causing a slur is not particularly in case Tim found out, but because it's general good practice to moderate one's speech, writing, and the pictures one exchanges. Especially, but not only about sex.
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Old 06.05.2019, 20:16
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Re: Private chats can be used in court?

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It's general good practice to moderate one's speech, writing, and the pictures one exchanges. Especially, but not only about sex.
But if anything that can appear negative can not be shared, then you can't speak of whole topics, I can't understand that. I can't mention to anyone I was abused as you may view that person negatively?
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Old 06.05.2019, 20:17
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Re: Private chats can be used in court?

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Is that what normal people do with their friends?

Am I the only one who thought in a private convo we could discuss as we like? I mean this is the generation that in dating guys ask about anal within 30 seconds of texting and I get penis pics, was I supposed to not say anything negative about a man even if it's true?
Of course everyone does that (talking, not the other thing). Just be cautious if you are in a nasty divorce or a situation at work
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Old 06.05.2019, 20:19
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Re: Private chats can be used in court?

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Of course everyone does that (talking, not the other thing). Just be cautious if you are in a nasty divorce or a situation at work
Someone I am no longer friends with shared some chats months later with someone and now I'm being explained it could be used against me, even if it's true as it "makes them look like a bad person" and I am questioning how that is even possible.

I can't discuss my divorce with anyone if this is really how the law is, because everyone I speak to will think "negative about him"
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Old 06.05.2019, 20:25
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Re: Private chats can be used in court?

Can you see the difference, in the above examples, between expressing what you saw and your feelings, on one hand, and on the other the damning value-judgment over the person?
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Old 06.05.2019, 20:43
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Re: Private chats can be used in court?

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Can you see the difference, in the above examples, between expressing what you saw and your feelings, on one hand, and on the other the damning value-judgment over the person?
but if you could view the person as negative it doesn't matter, that is where I am confused how that could not be allowed. A woman can not speak of any ill treatment or abuse to friends then?
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Old 06.05.2019, 20:52
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Re: Private chats can be used in court?

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A woman can not speak of any ill treatment or abuse to friends then?
You sure can. If you are factual and dont insult people in their honour... Quick question as this seems to be bizarre for you: What culture are you from? Insulting a person is a crime in a whole lot of countries... it just gets rarely punished.


Simple example: If you decided to flip a finger at somebody could this cost you a week of your income: https://www.tagesanzeiger.ch/zuerich...story/30381368
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Old 06.05.2019, 21:20
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Re: Private chats can be used in court?

Given the messy situation you're in, I would assume for now that anything you say or write could be used against you in court if the other party finds out about it. It would seem the other party is quite knowledgeable in how this rule works and has already been successful using your words against you in court, so exercise caution in all areas.

Try to think of things in the way that doropfiz phrased it. Use phrases like "I feel" and try not to use "he is".
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Old 06.05.2019, 21:25
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Re: Private chats can be used in court?

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Ok I'm baffled, my lawyer said you can be charged for defamation if you have a private conversation and in that conversation you "paint the person in a bad light" even if you are honest.

This can't be real?
That IS the definition of defamation - you discuss the person and their reputation with another person. Where would be the point in having defamation laws if you could go around having 'private conversations' about people with all and sundry???? Everyone is entitled to their good name.

Now, given that you are talking to a lawyer about it, I assume it has progressed to become a legal issue... if so then I very strongly recommend that you stop discussing it on social media, especially send you seem to know very little about the law and could get yourself into more trouble.

Follow the advice of your lawyer, they know far more about the exact circumstances of your situation than anyone on here and they have studied the law.
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Old 06.05.2019, 21:31
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Re: Private chats can be used in court?

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We should censor what we say to our own friends?
You can say whatever you like to your friends, but be aware that if you defame someone you may have to pay price. It depends how much you trust your friends.
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Old 06.05.2019, 21:39
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Re: Private chats can be used in court?

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Someone I am no longer friends with shared some chats months later with someone and now I'm being explained it could be used against me, even if it's true as it "makes them look like a bad person" and I am questioning how that is even possible.
If your comments were not factual and there was a need for the other person to know this information, such as they might be in danger for some reason, then yes it is defamation. And putting it in a chat would absolutely constitute publication.

You may have to learn the lesson in a very painful way.... never ever put anything into social media that you would not be comfortable seeing up on a public notice board. Because very often that is where it will end up.

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I can't discuss my divorce with anyone if this is really how the law is, because everyone I speak to will think "negative about him"
You'd probably want to choose your friends more carefully.. I could count on one hand the number of people I would discuss all my personal affairs with and have a few fingers to spare.
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Old 06.05.2019, 21:50
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Re: Private chats can be used in court?

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You sure can. If you are factual and dont insult people in their honour... Quick question as this seems to be bizarre for you: What culture are you from? Insulting a person is a crime in a whole lot of countries... it just gets rarely punished.


Simple example: If you decided to flip a finger at somebody could this cost you a week of your income: https://www.tagesanzeiger.ch/zuerich...story/30381368
I'm from the UK where we often use bad words and girls are open speaking to other girls about our lives.

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Given the messy situation you're in, I would assume for now that anything you say or write could be used against you in court if the other party finds out about it. It would seem the other party is quite knowledgeable in how this rule works and has already been successful using your words against you in court, so exercise caution in all areas.


Try to think of things in the way that doropfiz phrased it. Use phrases like "I feel" and try not to use "he is".
The conversations were some months to even over a year ago and I was unaware that my personal convos could be used in such a manner.

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That IS the definition of defamation - you discuss the person and their reputation with another person. Where would be the point in having defamation laws if you could go around having 'private conversations' about people with all and sundry???? Everyone is entitled to their good name.

Now, given that you are talking to a lawyer about it, I assume it has progressed to become a legal issue... if so then I very strongly recommend that you stop discussing it on social media, especially send you seem to know very little about the law and could get yourself into more trouble.

Follow the advice of your lawyer, they know far more about the exact circumstances of your situation than anyone on here and they have studied the law.
I think it's normal if a girl speaks to another female friend about the man she is dating. I had obviously no idea such things are not done here in Switzerland.

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If your comments were not factual and there was a need for the other person to know this information, such as they might be in danger for some reason, then yes it is defamation. And putting it in a chat would absolutely constitute publication.

You may have to learn the lesson in a very painful way.... never ever put anything into social media that you would not be comfortable seeing up on a public notice board. Because very often that is where it will end up.



You'd probably want to choose your friends more carefully.. I could count on one hand the number of people I would discuss all my personal affairs with and have a few fingers to spare.
I was factual in my comments. But if you can not discuss what someone has done or said because it may "make them look bad" how is that normal? I did believe at the time this person could be trusted, apparently I was wrong. But then if future friends I can not discuss anything about anyone? And is this just while in the country? Are you OK once you go over the border? I always find it interesting how laws are hand selected vs universally applied.
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Old 06.05.2019, 21:54
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Re: Private chats can be used in court?

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Now, given that you are talking to a lawyer about it, I assume it has progressed to become a legal issue...
Give this a read if you are interested in more background info.

https://www.englishforum.ch/general-...g-someone.html
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