£800 fine over faulty tyres slashed to £200

A MOTORIST who failed to pay £800 in court orders over faulty tyres has had the amount reduced after he told magistrates he did not pay because he thought the figure was “excessive”.

John McAulay, 44, was originally fined £700 and made to pay £85 costs with a £15 victim surcharge on March 23 last year after it was proved in his absence that he drove with insufficient tread on two tyres.

But he was hauled back before justices at Hartlepool Magistrates’ Court after failing to pay a penny of the penalties.

When defendants facing minor motoring offences fail to turn up to court, they can be found guilty in their absence and magistrates can proceed to sentence, based on their guidelines, not taking into account any financial circumstances.

But justices agreed to lower the amount payable after McAulay attended court and provided details of his income.

He told magistrates: “I lodged an appeal. I thought £400 a tyre was a bit excessive. The first I heard was yesterday.”

McAulay, of Jones Road, Hartlepool, told the court his partner gets £104 a week and “that’s for the two of us”.

Chairman of the magistrates’ bench Margaret Sleeman agreed to reduce the amount of fine to £50 per tyre, but the costs and victim surcharge remained at £85 and £15 respectively.

On hearing the £200 ruling and leaving court, McAulay said: “Big difference, isn’t it?”