The case began when a woman reported to police seeing a naked man wandering near a picnic area where she and her family were seated in the canton of Appenzell Inner-Rhodes in October 2009. Local authorities fined him 100 francs ($109), but the naturist refused to pay.
The man was taken to court in Appenzell in May 2010. He admitted he had been hiking without clothes, a practice he said he had indulged in for two years, but denied he had been acting indecently.
The judge acquitted him, arguing that the case was beyond the canton’s jurisdiction since the Swiss Penal Code regulates all crimes involving sexual integrity.
But the prosecutor decided to take the case to a higher court, which disagreed with the judge and concluded it was the duty of the local authorities to uphold public morality and ordered the man to pay 200 francs ($218) for “indecent behaviour.”
Not happy with the court’s decision, the defendant took his case to the Swiss Federal Court, which is expected to reach a verdict on Thursday.
In recent years, nudist hikers have become much more common in Switzerland, with German naturists in particular often crossing the border for strolls in Appenzell Inner-Rhodes.
Tired of seeing people walking naked in their mountains, citizens of the canton voted overwhelmingly to ban the practice on April 26th 2009. Nudist hiking is not outlawed in the rest of the country.