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JJ, Attorney
Category: South Africa Law
Satisfied Customers: 4502
Experience:  Admitted Attorney 17 years experience
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Almost 2 years ago, a case of crimen injuria was made against

Customer Question

Almost 2 years ago, a case of crimen injuria was made against me for allegedly using the "F" word during an altercation with a civil engineering contractor. He had dug up the road, severing our water pipes, eskom cables and severely damaging our property. He had sworn at my wife (in front of my children ) and at me when I got home. We managed to get this on video. My wife and I laid charges against him , yet nothing ever came of them. Yet his charges against me have gone to court. After several court appearances (which have cost me a lot of money on legal fees) the matter finally went to trial on 28 Jan 2010. It was amazing to see how the state witness lied under oath and how he contradicted himself. The magistrate could not spell some of the words, and asked him to spell them for her. She also seemed to be unaware of where the star state witness was not telling the truth. The case has again been postponed. If found guilty what am I looking at ?It would be cheaper to plead guilty!
Submitted: 6 years ago.
Category: South Africa Law
Expert:  JJ replied 6 years ago.

Good day



This is frustrating. I am of the view that you will most probably look at a suspended sentence with a fine of community service.


The problem is that the system can cost you a lot of money as you already saw. My view on this is that it should be discussed with you legal representative to negotiate a plea bargain with the prosecutor. This instruction you will have to give to your attorney, otherwise he would not do it.


The problem is that future postponements are not excluded and cost you even more money, I therefore have understanding for your view.


The key is however to discuss and come to an agreement with the prosecutor, as the deal have to come from both sides as they will also come to the party with a much reduced sentence.


I doubt strongly whether you will look at anything more than a suspended sentence.


I trust this helps.







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Customer: replied 6 years ago.
Hi Johan

There is more to this case than meets the eye. There are certain elements that are using this case as a way to teach me a lesson. The prosecutor herself has told me that she cannot understand why this case is going to trial - that it is a waste of time and money . She has also stated that she knows that the start state witness is telling lies but that if she withdraws the case she will lose her job.

The main thrust of my question is that I want to know if there is a table / schedule within the criminal procedures act that clearly stipulates how much the fine will be. For example if one gets caught driving at 72 Km/H in a 60 zone, the recommended fine is R150. Does the same apply to crimen injuria - or is it left up to the magistrate to decide what fine to impose ? Surely if the latter is indeed the case it could be quite dangerous and open to abuse. I want to make sure that my rights are not infringed upon. It would have been cheaper to ploease guilty and pay a small (R100 ?) fine than to stick to ones principles and defend the case. I am not guilty but cannot continue having my time wasted like this - it would be cheaper to pay a fine. Bear in mind that for some strange reason the state did not give me the option to pay an "admission of guilt" fine with this case - which is very VERY strange. Clearly they want to waste my time and cost me as much as possible interms of attorney fees.
Expert:  JJ replied 6 years ago.




The magistrate has a discretion and there is no table or schedule. They have maximum sentences they can hand down. For example, maximum 3 year jail sentence can be handed down by magistrate and fines up to R100 000. If you plead guilty you will have a criminal record for crimen injuria and you can request after 10 years for same to be removed from your name.


Still think you will look at a suspended sentence, as you know there are no guarantees.


Please keep in mind that a civil action might also be instituted after the trial has been finalised.


Trust this helps?






Customer: replied 6 years ago.

Hi Johan,

I understand that there will be no "jail time" but rather a fine. Not sure what a "suspended sentence" means.

Surely there have been many cases of crimen injuria where fines have been handed down - I need to be sure that I am not ripped off by the magistrate.

I dont care about a criminal record as I will be leaving this country and have no plan to return - given the way that I have been treated by the Directorate of Public Prosecutions and seeing first hand what goes on at the local magistrates court - its a circus!!
Expert:  JJ replied 6 years ago.

Suspended sentence will meant that you will get for example a fine of R10 000, suspended for 3 years. This will mean that if you are found guilty of the same offense within the 3 years you will have to pay the fine of R10 000 added to the penalty of the second offense.


It is difficult to go on case law as all scenarios are different with different evidence presented to them. I won't use this as a guideline, neither will the magistrate.





Customer: replied 6 years ago.

I take note that my credit card has been debited in an amount of R247.00 on 29/04/2010.

This is despite the fact that my question was not answered to my satisfaction and my understanding that my credit card would not be debited and that I could ask for a refund at any time. Despite sending several emails to your "refund department" I have yet to receive the courtesy of a response from them.

I therefore see this transaction as a misrepsentation on your part and consider it to be a fraudulent one. I also wish to notify you that if any other unsolicted attempts are made to access any more funds from my credit card I will immediately lay a case of fraud against you / just answer.

I expect a response from you as to why my credit card was debited and when I can expect the refund.
Expert:  JJ replied 6 years ago.

Good day


My answer was indeed not accepted. This seems to be a mistake. Please be advised that the expert does not have any control over what gets deducted or not.


I apologise for the inconvenience and will see to the position being rectified.


I will keep you posted on when the refund will be done.