Downstairs is normally reserved for small claims court and criminal charges whereas protection orders and civil cases are mostly upstairs.
How it Feels in the Knysna Magistrates Court…
At first, i was intimidated by the courts. After all, a stranger gets to judge what happens to my life.
Magistrates are human too; some are fair, some are irritable, some professional, others unprofessional etc. Handing myself over to them, that loss of control, sucks…especially because my political activism seems to possess enemies in awkward places… but it’s important not to generalise because there are good people everywhere too. I’ve been treated badly several times but i remind myself that others, from a clerk and a stenographer to a security guard and an SAPS member, have given me smiles in that building.
I had an epiphany moment wherein i realised that i have to embrace it all if i am to keep my spirits and activism up; bring a book, make a story in my head, get used to sitting in the court’s chair, remind myself that even magistrates are public servants, reward myself to a pie across the road or a beer in town etc.
The truth is on my side. I’m trying to make Knysna better and safer. If i win, the court served me. If i lose, i appeal.
The Battle in Your Head
If you’re new to the courts, hopefully you’ll find ways to make it better rather than defeat yourself in your head.
Keep it simple to make it less uncomfortable or more comfortable. Remember why you’re there.
Of course, all of the above applies to the innocent. I have no advice for the guilty except for them to embrace their mistake and do the best they can to correct their wrongs.