A 22-YEAR-OLD Kangaroo Flat woman has managed to rack up nearly $13,000 in fines in four years, a court has heard.
Magistrate William Gibb yesterday slammed the behaviour of Laini Schilling, whose fines were for parking offences, driving through a red light and failing to pay road tolls.
The court heard Schilling had 56 warrants that totalled $12,997 in outstanding fines and associated non-payment costs.
Schilling’s lawyer Luke Docherty said his client had come to court hoping to have all or part of that amount waived.
Mr Gibb scoffed at the suggestion of a complete dispensation.
He said the court had the power to send Schilling to jail for 73 days due to non-payment.
“You would have to have some powerful evidence of psychiatric illness for me to dismiss these fines,” he said.
“I would have extreme difficulty representing the community and allowing some individual who feels they can drive through red lights, park where they like and go on tollways without paying, while the rest of us follow the rules.”
Mr Docherty said Schilling suffered from depression and any jail term would be “unnecessarily harsh”
Mr Gibb said these submissions came nowhere near exceptional circumstances. “No one wants to go to jail,” he said.
Mr Docherty said his client was facing significant credit card debt from the purchase of a car and could only manage to repay $60 per month.
Mr Gibb said the fact Schilling went into debt to buy something that put her into more debt was a “great irony”. He said $60 per month would be inadequate.
Mr Gibb said he would reduce the fines by two-thirds, recognising the majority of the costs were fees from the Sherriff’s office.
“I’m certainly not going to discharge all of these. That would give the community absolutely the wrong message, that you can park where you want and then when you have got too many fines you come to court and they will get rid of them,” he said.
“You will still have to pay these fines or you will go to jail.”
Schilling’s fines were reduced to $4332 and she was ordered to repay $80 per month.