A Waringstown man was shocked to get a letter in the post last week asking him to attend court - for ‘owing’ 75p.
Kenneth Clydesdale received a £25 fine back in January 2013 for failing to possess a TV licence. He paid this fine immediately, before purchasing a TV licence that cost him an additional £201.75.
Two years on, Kenneth assumed that the incident was well behind him, having set up automatic payment to the TV Licensing company.
“I got a letter last week telling me that - two years later - I still owed 75p and that I had a court hearing in June at Craigavon Magistrates’ Court,” Kenneth shared. “My wife was in tears when we got the letter - she thought I was going to jail!”
Kenneth contacted the court straight away, as well as phoning the TV Licensing company, and paid the 75p on the spot.
A spokesperson for the NI Courts Service explained that the delay in notifying Mr Clydesdale about the 75p debt was due to a suspension of the enforcement of court ordered fines, which took place in March 2013 following a legal challenge. In June 2014, new rules were implemented, which meant that overdue fines could be brought back to court for consideration by the judiciary.
“On the 6th May 2015 a fine default notice was issued to Mr Clydesdale, as part of a batch of approximately 200 notices, for hearing at Craigavon in June.”