A woman initially became suspicious of her husband after he set up a second email account on their home computer. Since the couple had always shared their passwords with each other, even writing some of them down, the wife was able to use one to access her husband’s email and discovered he was having affairs with multiple other women.
After learning of her husband’s infidelity, the woman confronted him. He ultimately moved out of their home, located in Switzerland, but also filed a criminal complaint against her for accessing his emails without his permission.
According to the prosecutor, as reported by the Daily Mail, the unnamed woman repeatedly and deliberately invaded her husband’s privacy by accessing the email account and downloading some of the content.
In February, the wife was given a suspended fine of 9,900 Swiss Francs with an additional fine of 4,300 Swiss Francs for the unauthorized intrusion into the account.
During an appeal, the woman’s lawyer asserted at a district court hearing in Bremgarten that she didn’t hack the account as she used the password to gain entry.
However, it was also revealed that she researched whether she could potentially be prosecuted for the action before she read the messages. This led the court the assert that the wife was aware that she was possibly breaking the law, even though her Google search did not reveal a definitive answer as to whether that was the case.
Her conviction was upheld, with the court saying that unauthorized access of someone’s email is illegal. The fine she owed was reduced based on the court’s acknowledgment that the woman had shown “minimal criminal energy” since she only had to “exploit her husband’s carelessness” by using a password that was known to both of them.
According to Martin Bürgi, a Swiss lawyer, reading data that is password protected without the owner’s consent, regardless of whether the persons involved are married or cohabitating, is illegal under article 143 of the Swiss criminal code.
Based on the code, the act is punishable by a fine, such as what was levied against the woman based on her conviction, or a prison sentence of up to three years.