Court orders seizure of goods over Lord Maginnis 80p train ticket fine
Goods belonging to Lord Maginnis of Drumglass are to be seized and sold to cover the amount owed in an outstanding fine which he continues to refuse to pay, a judge has ruled.
Representing himself Lord Maginnis took up position in the benches usually reserved for the prosecution team.
According to court papers, the seventy-eight year old peer of Park Lane, Dungannon was convicted of boarding a train without a valid ticket in London on 5 March 2014.
The case initially appeared before South London Magistrates' Court where Lord Maginnis was ordered to pay a total of £1,478.90, which consisted of a fine of £220, along with compensation of £19.90 and costs of £1,239.
However, with nothing paid by 23 November last year, the case was ordered to be transferred from South London to Dungannon Magistrates' Court.
Lord Maginnis advised the judge he was under some time pressure stating: “I have a hospital appointment this morning. I am waiting of the NHS to give me a new hip.”
District Judge John Meehan confirmed he had read the papers submitted by Lord Maginnis and described it as “an unhappy situation".
Lord Maginnis said: “This is about a fine and more particularly about the system. I was summonsed in London on two occasions and turned up both times. It was cancelled both times. On the third occasion I did not appear and they went ahead without me.”
He continued: “I’ve been rubbished in terms of an 80p mistake. I resent that old age is treated so. This is not only personal – it’s a general issue. It has already cost me £3,200 in legal fees to ascertain why the court went ahead in my absence.”
Judge Meehan noted the matter had gone through an appeal at crown court in London but was dismissed. It was then transferred to the Northern Ireland jurisdiction, ending up at Dungannon Magistrates' Court after the fine remained unpaid.
He said: “I am at a stage where the matter is put before me for the fine to be addressed.”
It was explained persons in this position could enter into a repayment plan to discharge the outstanding fine and costs, - and option which was firmly rejected by Lord Maginnis.
At this Judge Meehan ordered a Distress Warrant to be issued for goods to the value of the amount in question to be seized.
This warrant will be served by PSNI.
Lord Maginnis asked: “Does this mean, in fact, justice is denied?”
Judge Meehan replied: “That’s a philosophical issue and one I am not qualified to comment upon.”
He then urged Lord Maginnis the case was concluded and wished him well with his hospital appointment.