‘Pay your court fine – or go to prison’



A Ryedale man has been warned he will face prison if he does not pay the money he owes to Scarborough Magistrates’ Court.

Stuart Godwin, 42, of Victoria Road, Malton, owes £1,135 in fines and costs following convictions for drink-driving and driving without insurance – but has only paid off £185 of this amount in the last four years.

Scarborough Magistrates’ Court also heard that he owes £820 for fines and costs relating to driving without road tax earlier this year.

Representing himself, under oath, Godwin told magistrates that he was applying for bankruptcy and that he was raising cash through the sale of his house, valued at around £135,000, on which he had already accepted an offer. But the court heard there was still £83,000 outstanding on Godwin’s mortgage and that there would be charges linked to the sale totalling £5,000.

Godwin added: “There are other issues as well. My ex-business partner wants me to give him £20,000.”

Tony Green, chairman of the bench, said: “The only debt you face – that if you don’t pay you will go to prison – is the money which you owe this court. You are so close to us declaring a case of culpable neglect, or that you are wilfully resisting to pay money you owe. We may decide that the only way we can close this matter off is to send you into custody.” Godwin said: “I don’t want to argue with you, but I’ve had fines and debts for years and they’ve been paid, if you look at my past.”

He also told magistrates that he had found a job. He said: “The situation is that I was working but they haven’t paid me. But I’m starting work with another company who will pay me because I know them from back in the day. It’s a commission-only job, both glazing and insulation.”

Godwin must now return to court on May 8 when he must provide documents showing details about the sale of his property and earnings from his employer, unless he has paid off all the debt in full.




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