Fines or jail term

By XAVIER SMERDON
A HOPPERS Crossing man has been warned to pay his speeding and parking fines or go to jail.
Lee Smith was taken to the Werribee Magistrates’ Court on Tuesday 31 January by the Maribyrnong City Council for owing more than $3000 in fines. The eight fines totalled $3067.
Mr Smith explained that he had not worked since 2010 and currently owed $6000 on a Yellow Pages ad from when he owned his own business and $46,000 on a car he owned that was involved in a crash.
Mr Smith also said he suffered from Crohn’s disease, a type of inflammatory bowel disease that made it difficult for him to work.
In light of his circumstances Magistrate Bernard Fitzgerald wiped the majority of the fines issued to Mr Smith, meaning he would only have to pay $750. Mr Smith agreed to stick to a monthly payment plan starting on 1 March in which he would pay $50 every month.
But Magistrate Fitzgerald said that if Mr Smith was even one day late with his payments he would be taken to jail for seven days.
“The order that’s going to be made is an imprisonment in lieu order. In lieu of paying those fines you will be taken to prison,” Magistrate Fitzgerald said.
Mr Smith asked the magistrate if going to prison would affect his ability to obtain a gun licence to which he was reminded that he had an opportunity to avoid a jail sentence.

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