A conviction for Elton Jantjies could hurt his rugby career, say legal experts

Jantjies appeared in the Kempton Park Magistrate's Court on Monday on charges of malicious damage to property and contravening the Civil Aviation Act in connection with the incident, which apparently saw him break a light on the aircraft.

Springbok flyhalf Elton Jantjies appeared in the Kempton Park Magistrates Court on 16 May 2022. Picture: Bernadette Wicks/Eyewitness News

JOHANNESBURG - Springbok rugby player Elton Jantjies may be facing relatively minor charges over his alleged outburst on board an Emirates flight at the weekend, but being found guilty of them could still prove a headache for the flyhalf.

Jantjies appeared in the Kempton Park Magistrate's Court on Monday on charges of malicious damage to property and contravening the Civil Aviation Act in connection with the incident, which apparently saw him break a light on the aircraft.

He had already been released on police bail of R1,000 and the case was postponed next month for further investigations and possible mediation.

Legal experts said that mediation was offered as an alternative to having a dispute adjudicated in court and could see Jantjies escape the charges he currently faced with little more than a rap over the knuckles.

Were the case to be prosecuted and Jantjies convicted, it’s unlikely that he would face direct prison time as a first offender. The athlete would, however, carry with him a criminal record for years to come.

Given the nature of the offence, he could have the black mark expunged but only after a period of 10 years had lapsed and so it would complicate any plans he had to travel internationally to, for example, compete during this period.