Recalcitrant motorist fined $7,000 for parking offences

Gabriel Ravi Janageran ignored reminders to pay fines before he was issued a summons to appear in court.
Gabriel Ravi Janageran ignored reminders to pay fines before he was issued a summons to appear in court.ST PHOTO: WONG KWAI CHOW

SINGAPORE - An interior designer who chalked up $660 for 14 parking offences in four months, but dragged his heels over paying the composition fines, found himself having to pay more than 10 times the original amount.

Gabriel Ravi Janageran, 46, had ignored three reminders to pay the fines before he was issued a summons to appear in court for various parking offences between September 2010 and January 2011.

Even after he was hauled to court, he skipped five court sessions, which led to five arrest warrants issued against him.

Finally, in April last year, he pleaded guilty in a district court and was fined a total of $7,000, or $500 for each offence. In lieu of payment, he has to serve a 14-day jail term.

On Wednesday (Jan 27), he appealed to the High Court, asking for a lower sentence and more time to raise the money. He said he was the sole breadwinner of his family and could not go to jail as he has four children in school.

Judge of Appeal Chao Hick Tin told him: "If you had paid the composition fines, you would not be here."

Deputy Public Prosecutor Isaac Tan argued that given Gabriel Ravi's "wilful conduct" in ignoring the repeated reminders and court dates, it was untenable to now assert that $500 per offence is manifestly excessive.

"He had brought all this upon himself," said the DPP, noting that the district judge was "very kind" to him as the usual tariff is a fine of between $600 and $800.

When Justice Chao asked if he could pay his fine in instalments, Gabriel Ravi offered to pay the amount in two instalments of $3,500.

But the judge cautioned that he would end up in jail if he could not meet the payments.

Eventually, Justice Chao worked out a four-month instalment plan for him to pay $2,000 in the first two months and $1,500 for the other two.