This content was published on October 14, 2021 – 15:29
October 14, 2021 – 3:29 PM
The editorial manager of the LesObservateurs.ch site Uli Windisch was found guilty of defamation by the district court of Sierre. He was sentenced to a 20-day fine, suspended for two years. He’s going to appeal.
The case dates back to March 2019. Uli Windisch, honorary university professor, publishes a text affirming that the creator of the 1dex blog, lawyer Stéphane Riand, has been condemned by the Federal Court for “tax evasion”. But if the Court has just published a judgment concerning the taxes of Stéphane Riand, it concerns an accounting dispute and not a criminal offense.
In the comments published in reaction to the text, the man is then described as a “cheater”, a “crook” “caught with his hand in the bag”. In the process, Stéphane Riand filed a complaint for defamation. The author of the text being anonymous, it is Uli Windisch as editorial manager who must answer for the accusation.
“Opposite of addition”
This week, before the Court of Sierre, the latter repeats it: readers should understand “subtraction” as the opposite of addition and not deduce from it a criminal connotation. “I am not a lawyer, reading this paper, what I understood is that Stéphane Riand had not paid all of the taxes he owed”.
For the public prosecutor, “as editorial manager, Uli Windisch had the obligation, before publishing it, to check the content of the article in question written by a third party as well as the judgment of the Federal Court relating to it”. For his part, Stéphane Riand’s lawyer, Nicolas Rouiller, is surprised that “an emeritus university professor ignores the criminal meaning of the term ‘tax evasion'”.
Both believe that “the article shows Stéphane Riand as a person who not only failed in his obligations as a taxpayer, but who also committed a criminal offense”. Which undermines his honor. An argument followed by the Court of Sierre.
Uli Windisch was found guilty of defamation, judge Stéphane Epiney told Keystone-ATS on Thursday. He was sentenced to a 20-day fine at 150 francs the day suspended fine, as well as a fine of 750 francs, not counting the legal costs. On the other hand, the judge rejected the request for compensation for moral injury filed by Stéphane Riand.
“The judgment is respectable but does not convince me,” said Sébastien Fanti, defender of Uli Windisch. We will therefore appeal. “His client having immediately withdrawn the disputed text after receipt of the complaint, the lawyer asked for his acquittal. He also considered that before going to court,” it would have been wise for the complainant to contact the moderator of the site”.
Another case between the two men should soon be judged. This time it relates to a complaint by Uli Windisch who accuses Stéphane Riand of having qualified LesObservateurs.ch as a far-right site.