By Oliver Hall
A motorist who was fined £800 for having two bald tyres has had the penalty slashed due to his low income.
John McAulay was found guilty in his absence of driving on tyres with insufficient tread after failing to turn up at Hartlepool Magistrates Court on March 23 last year.
He was originally fined £700 and made to pay £85 costs with a £15 victim surcharge. However, after failing to make any payment he was summoned to the court this week, where he told magistrates he thought the £800 penalty was “excessive”.
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, according to the report in the Peterlee Mail.
However, the justices agreed to lower the amount payable after McAulay, 44, 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 told the court his partner gets £104 a week and “that’s for the two of us”.
The penalty was reduced to a fine of £50 per tyre, but the combined costs and victim surcharge remained at £100.