An example might be somebody who has a history of paying their fines regularly and promptly who suddenly falls upon hard times. If we think that the individual has learned their lesson, and there is evidence of a rapid and severe change of financial circumstances, rather than setting them up to fail we will remit fines. Let me tell you though that it is a rarity indeed.
A young woman stood before my Bench today, admitting a charge of theft from a shop. It was obvious that she had been "around the block a few times", as she conducted her defence equally as well as her long suffering solicitor.
We fined her and the brief asked for it to be consolidated with her on-going fines, which, for a single mother of two on benefits, was an eye-watering Ã‚Â£1250 approximately. To this was to be added today's fine of Ã‚Â£120 plus costs, which she repays at a standard rate of Ã‚Â£10 per fortnight.
She then attracted her solicitor's attention and, excusing himself, turned his back and had a brief but clearly disagreeable discussion.
He turned back to us and said, "Your Worships, I am instructed to ask for my client's fines to be remitted in toto."
I must admit to not having seen that coming and I asked him for an explanation to which he replied that he thought it best for his client to explain directly.
So I asked her to do just that.
She pulled herself up to her full 5ft 6in of haughty disdain and said,
"I would prefer to buy Christmas for myself and my kids but with these fines payments, and now you're adding more, I can't afford to so if you don't remit them, it'll be your fault that I have to go out thieving to get the Christmas me and the brats rightly deserve".
A cogent argument, I thought.