News that almost £20m of fines – some dating back three decades – are outstanding in Northern Ireland is an indictment of the collection system.
According to the Northern Ireland Audit Office, almost one-third of that total cannot ever be recovered.
Even worse is the fear that some police officers have contributed towards the huge debt through fraud – simply pocketing money that was supposed to go to pay off fines.
Fines are a punishment for misdemeanours but it seems that many offenders are simply thumbing their noses at the judicial system.
This is a scandal that makes a mockery of justice and there is an urgent need for a radical overhaul of the enforcement and collection processes.