An interior designer who chalked up parking penalties of $660 over four months, but dragged his heels over paying the composition fines, ended up having to fork out more than 10 times the original amount.
Gabriel Ravi Janageran, 46, had ignored three reminders to pay the fines for 14 parking offences between September 2010 and January 2011 before he was issued a summons to attend court.
Even then, 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. Failure to pay up would mean a 14-day jail term for him. Yesterday, he appealed to the High Court for a smaller fine and more time to raise the money. He said he was his family's sole breadwinner and could not go to jail as he has four school-going children.
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 notices, repeated reminders and court dates, it was untenable to now assert that $500 per offence was manifestly excessive.
The DPP said Gabriel Ravi was a "persistent offender" who had no regard for the law as he continued to flout parking rules with increasing frequency even after receiving three summonses in late 2010.
"He had brought all this upon himself," said the DPP, noting that the district judge was "very kind" to him as the typical fine for first-time offenders was between $600 and $800 for each offence.
When Justice Chao asked if he could pay his fine in instalments, Gabriel Ravi offered to pay in two instalments of $3,500 each.
But the judge cautioned him 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 in the next two months.
Gabriel Ravi had committed 11 illegal parking offences and one each of parking without a valid coupon, parking beyond boundary lines and unauthorised parking in a season parking lot.
He was given the opportunity to compound the offences by paying composition fines of between $10 and $50. But he claimed he had misplaced the fine chits and forgotten about them. The offences are punishable with a fine of up to $2,000, jail of up to three months, or both.