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Italian Court gives women license to lie

By Chris V. Thangham     Mar 8, 2008 in World
Italy’s highest appeal court has passed a landmark ruling allowing married women who commit adultery to have the right to lie to protect their honor. They say bending the truth justifies concealing extramarital relationships.
The Court of Cassation in Italy gave this ruling after hearing the case of 48-year-old married woman, Carla, who was convicted of giving false testimony to police after lying that she didn’t give her mobile phone to her lover.
The woman, hailing from Porto Ercole on the Tuscany coast, brought this appeal to the high court. She said she lent the phone to her lover, Giovanni, who then called Carla’s estranged husband, Vincenzo, and insulted him.
Giovanni was convicted of abusive behavior in the local court and Carla was convicted for aiding him as an accessory.
The appeal court agreed with her and said she didn’t break the law. They said she was justified by lying to conceal her extramarital relationship.
The High Court of Cassation found “that having a lover was a circumstance that damaged the honor of the person among family and friends. Lying about it, therefore, was permitted, even in a judicial investigation.”
This controversial decision is not the only one issued by the High Court of Cassation -- they have passed a number of other controversial judgments, usually undertaken by elderly male appeal judges.
One of the most controversial rulings said a woman cannot be raped by definition if she wears tight jeans, since the jeans can be removed only with her consent. Later they canceled the ruling after vigorous protests from women’s’ rights group.
The latest ruling may also provoke a controversy in Italy. It is not clear whether this ruling will be applicable for men, too, when they have secret mistresses.
Do you agree with the court’s decision?
More about Licence, Lie, Italian women