The accused person can escape conviction for defamation by proving the truth of the defamatory accusations : this is the exception of truth provided for by article 35 of the law of 1881.
The proof of good faith is distinct from the exception of truth ( Cass. Crim. June 17, 2008)
The use of the exception of truth is reduced first of all by the text itself which excludes it in certain cases: when the imputation concerns the private life of the person, refers to facts dating back more than ten years. years or constituting an offense amnestied or prescribed (except for certain offenses committed against minors), or having given rise to a conviction erased by rehabilitation or revision.
The case law, if it is very broad to admit the possibility of providing this proof, is on the other hand, in a constant manner, very demanding on the scope and the quality of this proof which must be, in addition to correlative to the alleged allegations, complete. , perfect and absolute (Crim., June 2, 1980, Bull. n ° 168).