DRIVING licence chiefs have apologised after Hartlepool magistrates fined a pensioner £200 for an offence four years after she died.
The DVLA prosecuted Mona Paterson for failing to tell them of a change in ownership of her car even though she had died aged 72 in November 2008.
The widow, who lived in Billingham, was fined £200 by Hartlepool Magistrates’ Court for the offence alleged to have been committed on January 30 this year.
The court found her guilty in her absence of failing to deliver part of a registration document to the secretary of state relating to the transfer of the vehicle to another person.
Magistrates also ordered Mrs Paterson to pay £90 costs to the DVLA and a £15 victim surcharge.
A friend of Mrs Paterson’s contacted the Mail after learning about the gaffe.
The woman, who did not wish to be named, said: “Mona never owed anybody anything and she wouldn’t have flouted the law.
“She was fined £305 in total for something she had no control over. I think it is an injustice. I don’t think this will have been the only case.”
Mrs Paterson’s car was sold on a couple of years after she died when her house was cleared.
The friend understood that the DVLA was told Mrs Paterson had died when the car was sold.
She described Mrs Paterson, a mother of one as a hard-working and caring person.
The DVLA has apologised and said it was not notified of her death before the prosecution.
A DVLA spokesperson said: “We do everything we can to ensure that our records are accurate, and on the whole they are.
“In this case, we did not receive notification of the death prior to the court case.
“We are now taking steps to withdraw the case. We are of course extremely sorry for any distress caused.”