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Durban - KwaZulu-Natal judge president Chiman Patel has denied claims that he defamed a clerk after a charge of crimen injuria was laid against him last week.
A Sunday newspaper reported that a court clerk had laid the charge against Judge Patel on Friday.
Crimen injuria is an act of intentionally and unlawfully impairing the dignity or privacy of another person.
Details of the incident that led to the charge are sketchy but court sources, who asked not to be named, said the registry clerk laid the charge after she and Judge Patel exchanged words in his office last week. One source said the clerk had been reprimanded by Judge Patel for not carrying out her duties, but no vulgar or abusive language was used.
Contacted for comment on Sunday, Judge Patel said there was “no truth” to the allegations.
“I have never impaired anyone’s dignity. I would not start now.
“I was very hurt by the (Sunday Times article) and I want this matter to be properly ventilated,” he said.
The judge added that he was trying to improve the way the courts worked and this was not always welcomed.
“I am trying to make the courts efficient and I am not very popular because of this,” he said. “When someone has done something wrong they have to be spoken to.”
Police spokesman Jay Naicker confirmed a charge had been laid on Friday.
“The docket will be investigated.
“It will be handed to the National Prosecuting Authority to determine whether the person should be prosecuted.”