Woman defies court over rude De Lille SMSs

De Lille is the leader of the Independent Democrats political party.

Lara Johnstone (40) is charged with crimen injuria, and prosecuting authorities are yet to decide whether to add intimidation to the charges.

No details of the crimen injuria charge were given when prosecutor Thembela Yawa called her case in the Cape Town Magistrate’s Court.

According to the charge sheet, Johnstone was arrested on Wednesday.

When her case was called, a court orderly went to the court’s holding cells to fetch her, but returned without her and explained that she was violent, swearing and abusive, and refused to be brought into the courtroom.

The magistrate noted on the court record: “Accused refuses to be brought to court. She is abusive and hostile.”

Also on the record was a letter from the forensic services section of the Community Health Services Organisation, in which Theo Dahms stated: “She is totally uncooperative, and refuses to answer any of my questions. She simply walked out of the room.

“I can therefore not comment on her mental condition, but would think if she persists in this way she needs to be sent for psychiatric observation.”

Johnstone was remanded in her absence to September 22, when her psychiatric assessment is to be handed to the court.

Response from Ms. Lara Johnstone:

Ms. Lara Johnstone alleges, the SAPA report contains the following implied and alleged errors: (a) Her 18 July 2007 arrest was illegal, since it was conducted without an Arrest Warrant; (b) the court orderlies reasons for her refusal to appear in court are a lie; (c) the court did not send her for psychiatric observation on Thursday 19 July, or at any time in this matter; (d) no observation psychiatric report exists in this matter, accordingly no such report was handed in to the court on September 22, or at any time, in this matter. Ms. Johnstone does not deny sending the alleged ‘crimen injuria’ SMS’s to Ms. De Lille. In the context of her prior telephone conversations with, and written correspondence to, Mrs. De Lille; she does dispute Ms. De Lille’s interpretation that the SMS’s amounted to ‘crimen injuria’.

Ms. Johnstone has filed: (i) a request to the National Prosecuting Authority: Cape Town; (ii) a request to the SA Press Association: Board of Directors; and (iii) a complaint to the Press Council of SA: Press Ombudsman, to (a) request the evidence from NPA/Capetown Court Officials, as stated in SAPA report; and (b) to correct the errors in the SAPA news report. The trial starts on 8 July 2009. To date, the matter remains unresolved.

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Woman defies court over rude De Lille SMSs