Contempt of Court is the offence of being disobedient or discourteous towards a Court through wilful disregard of its authority and dignity. An act of contempt of Court can consist of disrespectful behaviour in Court or it can consist of disregard of a Court order.
Some examples of Contempt of Court may include but is not limited to the following:-
- Failing to comply with an order of the Court without a lawful excuse;
- Wilfully insulting a magistrate or court staff member whilst at court;
- Wilfully interrupting a Court proceeding;
- Unlawfully obstructing or assaulting someone attending Court; or
- Disobeying a lawful order or direction by the Court during a proceeding;
Contempt of Court is a criminal offence which carries a maximum penalty of three years imprisonment or a fine of 200 penalty units ($27,570.00).
In a recent decision by the District Court of Queensland, Judge Dearden issued a warrant for the arrest of Marinus Hendrikus van Uden’s for failing to obey the Court’s directions.
It is reported that in 2019, Mr van Uden was involved in a heated dispute with the Queensland Building and Construction Commission (QBCC). On 19 June 2020, the QBCC commenced proceedings against Mr van Uden due to menacing publications made by him on various social media platforms, regarding the QBCC officers.
Mr van Uden failed to participate in the Court proceedings, which allowed the QBCC to seek a judgment in default. Mr van Uden was ordered to remove all social media publications in relation to the QBCC and its officers. Mr van Uden was also prohibited from making any further publications about the QBCC and its officers without permission of the Court.
12 months later, Mr van Uden had failed to engage with the Court proceedings as well as failed to remove the publications. This conduct was found by the Court to be contempt and Mr van Uden was sentenced to three (3) months’ imprisonment.
If you are required to attend Court proceedings, it is important to show respect to the Court, its staff and its orders and directions at all times. If you are a party to Court orders, ensure that you make every attempt to obey them to avoid not only falling into contempt of Court but also incurring other adverse legal consequences.
If you have received a judgement and orders from a Court, we can assist you in understanding your duties and rights under those directions.