If you are suspected of insulting, it is always advisable to consult a lawyer before the interrogation with the police. Insulting itself sounds like a simple fact, and insulting is generally not subject to high penalties, but what many people do not know is that in some cases the suspicion of insult can be properly defended. A lawyer can advise you on your litigation position, whether you must remain silent, or better explain, and what you can and cannot explain.

Insult in the law

Insult is made punishable in article 261 in conjunction with article 266 Penal Code (Sr.) and beyond.


Article 261 – defamation and defamation

1. He who deliberately assaults someone’s honor or good name, by accusing a certain fact, with the apparent purpose of publicizing it, is punished, as guilty of defamation, with imprisonment for a maximum of six months or fine of the third category. 
2. If this is done by means of writings or images, distributed, openly exhibited or excited, or by writings whose contents are publicly heard, the perpetrator, as guilty of defamation, is punished with imprisonment for a maximum of one year or a fine of the third category.
3. Neither defamation nor defamation exists insofar as the offender has acted as a necessary defense, or has been able to assume in good faith that the charges were true and that the public interest demanded charges.


Article 266 – simple insult

1.  Any intentional insult that does not have the character of reproach or reproach, whether publicly orally by writing or depiction, or someone, in his presence orally or by facts, or by a written or offered document or As a simple insult, the image affected is punished with imprisonment of up to three months or a fine of the second category. 

2.  Behavior that is intended to give an opinion about the protection of public interests, and that is not aimed at objecting to something else or more serious than that ensues, is not punishable as a simple insult. 

Article 267 – insult civil servant, public authority, head of friendly state
The prison terms specified in the preceding articles of this title can be increased by a third if the insult is done to: 
1 °. the public authority, a public body or a public institution; 
2 °. an official during or in connection with the legitimate performance of his duties; 
3 °. the head or member of the government of a friendly state. 

As you can read, the simple insult is formulated as an exception to defamation. If there is no libel, while the honor and good name of another is assaulted, there is simple insult. 

In the indictment we often see the following description for insult :

he on or around [date] in [place], at least in the Utrecht district, deliberately offending official (s), namely [official] and / or [official 1] (respectively brigadier and agent of Utrecht police), during and / or with regard to the legitimate exercise of his / their ministry, orally added the words “Flikkers” in his / her presence, at least words of the same offensive nature and / or purport.


Prove insult

In general, proof of insult is provided on the basis of an official report of the findings of a police officer. That in itself is sufficient evidence, unless it is plausible that what the police officer stated is incorrect. 

When it comes to insulting a citizen, it is almost never reported. If that does happen, the law requires that there is at least one other means of proof besides the declaration. Otherwise acquittal must follow.

In the case of incriminating witness statements, it is important to call on these witnesses to repeat the statement before a judge, in the hope that they will either return to the previous statement or fall through the basket and that their statement was lied to, that at least the reliability and credibility of the statement must be questioned. You can also call witnesses yourself to support your story. Our lawyers are skilled in questioning witnesses.

The lawyer can also hear a police officer about what he has stated in the report.


Defense against insult

Not every statement made can be legally qualified as an insult. It is important that you do not accept the accusation that you have offended someone else too quickly. In any case, for a statement of insult to be proven, it is required that the suspect was intended to harm the other in his honor and good name. That setup is not always present.


This is reflected in, among other things, a judgment of the Amsterdam Court of Appeal, 2 July 2009, LJN: BJ4779, in which the question was whether a police officer who shouted “what a shit” had offended the complainant. The Court of Appeal ruled that it was not an insult because the statement was more or less a sigh in itself, and so he did not say it to the complainant either. According to the court, the police officer did not intend to offend the woman in her honor and good name.

It is important to know that the words “suckers”, “loosers”, “bastards” and “cancer killers” are generally offensive in nature.

In the case of an insult made to a person orally in his presence, an utterance must be considered insulting if it is intended to offend the other in his honor and good name. The judgment that this is the case will, for words whose use is not generally offensive in itself, depend on the context in which the statement was made. 


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