Question posted in the General Law category relating to Western Cape
My father received an application for a protection order for harassment against him. He is due in court in a couple of weeks. The claims against him is partially true. He visited my aunt at her place of work to demand rent payment and accused her of fraud. He accused her of falsely claiming medication on her husband's medical aid, but she says he accused her of claiming on his medical aid. My parents paid her cash for these transactions. They are actually arguing semantics. Nevertheless, facts are he did show up at her place of work and accused her of this in public. He is also known to be verbally aggressive, so I am sure this caused some inconvenience for my aunt. She claims she fears for her life.
If my father goes to court the matter will escalate as he will prove to the judge he is aggressive and argumentitive. He will argue to prove he is right until he is listened to. My father is also racially biased and my fear is that he will say something stupid if he is angry and things are not going his way. I would like to avoid him going to court if there are no long term consequences.
My legal question is as follows: I know he will he found in contempt of court if he fails to show up for the hearing and the protection order is likely to be granted. Other than that are there any other consequences we need to consider? Will he be criminally charged and have a record should he not attend the hearing? What would your suggestion be?
Answer to the Question
Hi there and thank you for your question,
I am a practicing attorney based in South Africa and I will assist you with your question. Please feel free to ask as many follow-up questions in order to clarify your question. If you have a new question, you must please open a new thread.
Q: I know he will he found in contempt of court if he fails to show up for the hearing and the protection order is likely to be granted --> He won't be found in contempt for not showing up; the court will take his failure to show up as him not wanting to oppose the application, and accordingly the court will grant the protection order.
Q: Other than that are there any other consequences we need to consider? --> The protection order will be granted against your Dad. This is quite powerful, because if he happens to breach any of the things that are listed in the order, your aunt would be able to phone the SAPS and they would simply come and arrest your Dad and put him in jail for breaching the protection order. So ideally, he would NOT want the protection order granted against him!
Q: Will he be criminally charged and have a record should he not attend the hearing? --> No, not at all.
Q: What would your suggestion be? --> You should speak to your Aunt and convince her that your Dad will leave her alone and she should withdraw the protection order application, because otherwise it will really break up the family. But if your Aunt is renting a room / house from your Dad, and she is not paying her rental, then there will always be a friction between the two of them. This is probably another reason for your Dad to oppose the protection order.
If your Dad can't keep a cool head in court, there could very well be unintended consequences of his outburst. If this is the case, I would suggest that he hires an attorney to represent him in court to oppose the protection order.
I think that you should also read up on Google as to what your Aunt will need to prove in order to get a protection order, then see if you think that she will be able to do that. Then decide on the way forwards.
He could always attend court and agree to an order being granted which says that he can't go to your Aunt's workplace, or something like that. Almost accept some of the terms of the order, but fight against the rest of them. I mean, if an order is granted which says that your Dad can't raise his voice to your Aunt, that's a problem because she could phone the SAPS for almost anything. It would give her a lot of power.
I think that the issue is that your Aunt doesn't want your Dad going to her work. So maybe accept that part, but agree with your Aunt that she can't get all of the relief.
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