A court is considered to be as sacred as a temple. Little wonder why lawyers are referred to as ministers in the temple of justice. When a court is in session, notices are usually erected in front of such court room to deter people from making noise or disrupting proceedings that are going on.
While in court whether as a witness or a party in a suit, it is advisable that you conduct yourself in a respectable manner and observe decorum in order not to cause unnecessary attention to be drawn to you. This is because failure to observe decorum can cause you to be charged for contempt.
What is contempt?
According to the Black's Law Dictionary, contempt is a type of conduct that defies the authority or dignity of a court or legislature. Contempt could either be civil or criminal.
A criminal contempt usually occurs where a person goes against the order of a court, or acts in a defiant manner in court premises.
Section 133 of the Criminal Code provides for certain situations where a person can be charged for criminal contempt. They include
1. Disrespecting a judge through speech, conduct, expression or in writing
2. Shouting at a lawyer or any other person in a court room
3. Obstructing or disturbing the court during the course of a judicial proceeding
4. Misrepresenting any proceeding to be a different thing from what it originally is, either by speech, in writing or by conduct.
5. Publishing a report of the evidence in a proceeding that is required to be in private.
6. When a matter is still pending before the court, publishing untrue facts about such proceedings in such a manner as to lower the authority of any party in the ongoing suit.
A person who does any of these acts is guilty of an offence, and will be liable to 3 months imprisonment.
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