The video of the speech by Massimo secret that, during an evening that would be dedicated to announcing the marriage with Cristina Seemingly, accuses the now ex-partner of betrayal in front of friends and family has gone viral. But could anyone reporting infidelity face any consequences? Previously, the situation described above could trigger the crime of insult which was governed by Article 594 of the Criminal Code and punished anyone who offended the honor or decorum of a person present. Well, the insult, while no longer constituting a crime, still has consequences today, being in any case a civil offence. This means that the victim will no longer have to file a complaint, but will be able to act by filing a lawsuit to request compensation for the damage suffered.
Furthermore, Legislative Decree no. 7/2016, in addition to decriminalizing the injury, also provided for the application of a sort of “fine”, or more correctly a civil pecuniary sanction, which can range from €100 to €8,000, while if, as in the case in this case, the offense consists in the attribution of a specific fact or if the fact is committed in the presence of several people, the fine ranges from €200 to €12,000. But, can the revelation of an alleged betrayal be considered an offense to the honor or decorum of an individual? Indeed, the “betrayed” partner does not use vulgar or abusive expressions, nor does he accuse the partner of an illicit act. However, according to the Jurisprudence, with reference in that case to the crime of defamation, it believes that even the disclosure of facts which, although lawful, are suitable for meeting with the disapproval of the generality of the associates, placing themselves in contrast with universally recognized ethical norms, constitutes an offense to reputation. This principle was enunciated by the Criminal Cassation, Section V, in sentence n. 40359 of 23.9.2008 and can also be applied to the offense of injury since in the past it differed substantially from defamation due to the presence of the offended person.
Betrayal is still today considered by people as an unethical behavior that arouses indignation and disapproval; therefore, the accusation is certainly capable of harming the honor and decorum of others. But it doesn’t end here! Massimo Segre in his speech also refers to alleged lovers of his ex-partner with the following expressions: “a well-known lawyer” and “a well-known industrialist”, and again “go with your lawyer”. Well, these subjects can be considered offended persons and, therefore, entitled to sue Mr. Segre in this case for defamation. Pursuant to art. 595 of the Criminal Code commits the crime of defamation “Anyone who, except for the cases indicated in the previous article, by communicating with several people, offends the reputation of others”. Therefore the necessary elements for the configuration of the crime are the communication to several people and the offense to the other’s reputation.
In the instant case, Mr. Segre flaunted the alleged betrayal in front of various people present at the evening, alluding to possible lovers, integrating the first requirement. For the second requirement, as already mentioned, the accusation of treason also addressed to the lovers who, unlike Seymandi, were absent, certainly entails an offense to the reputation which includes the damage to the personal, moral, social, professional, of honor and decorum. Furthermore, for the purposes of the defamation crime to be configurable, the victim does not need to be exactly identified, it being sufficient for him to be identifiable in a small circle of people. In particular, reference is made to the recipients of the defamatory message who, if, for personal or work reasons, are aware of some details of the victim’s private life, may be able to identify it (Criminal Cassation section V, 10/04 /2012, no. 30369). Surely those invited to the evening fall into this category who, knowing Seymandi, could well imagine the identity of the “well-known lawyer” or the “well-known industrialist”, even if they had not been identified by name and surname. Furthermore, the possible identification is also confirmed by the release of articles proposing a “toto lovers” of Ms Seymandi.
Furthermore, the publication of the video online and on social networks would entail the application of the aggravating circumstance of diffusion by means of the press, advertising, or public deed, as these means of spreading the news considerably amplify the defamatory message. The prevailing jurisprudence equates social networks to a means of advertising, triggering the aggravated form. However, the same Criminal Cassation states that whoever, through a post on a social network, expresses, with non-offensive or insulting sentences, his appreciation and his sharing with reference to defamatory expressions and criticisms cannot be held responsible for the crime of defamation previously by others and shared via the internet (C., Sez. V, 21.9.2015-29.1.2016, n. 3981). This means that mere sharing, without adding further offensive comments, is generally not a crime. So beware! Even if the betrayal was real and demonstrable, shouting it from the rooftops can have unpleasant consequences.