‘Benefit of doubt’ cuts fines by more than £2,000

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A MAN who racked up more than £2,700 in fines has had his total slashed by more than £2,000 by Magistrates.

Douglas McCart, formerly of Carr Road, Todmorden, failed to pay fines racked up over a series of driving offences including using a mobile phone, failing to provide information and not having a valid MOT.

McCart said: “I honestly don’t know about this.”

The court heard each of the six cases were dealt with in his absence, and McCart had never responded to any summons or reminders. He said he had been suffering from stress for over three years and had stopped reading letters after racking up debts.

“I don’t try and avoid fines,” he told Calderdale Magistrates’ Court.

“If a letter had been sent to me in the the past three years, I haven’t read it,” he said.

McCart, who has recently moved to Burnley, said he had lost his job, but was previously paid £30,000 a year as a contract landscaper. Magistrates said they would knock £2,055 off his total.

Melvyn Smith, chairman of the bench, said: “It’s hard to believe but we’re going to give you the benefit of the doubt. In normal circumstances with someone owing such an amount and not having paid a penny off the total would be facing 14 days in Armley starting right now. If you don’t pay this £727.59 that’s exactly what you face.”