“THROW out the TV,” was the advice of Judge John Coughlan at district courts in Edenderry and Tullamore where he fined thirty-eight people with no valid TV licence a cumulative total of €17,000.
Forty prosecutions were brought by the state and it was awarded in the region of €14,500 in fines and €2,500 in costs by the judge who adopted a tough zero tolerance approach with those who don’t pay for their television.
“You have to pay your tax,” he advised an Edenderry woman, as he fined her €500 after hearing she had a similar conviction in the past.
The judge related fines to social welfare, saying a €500 fine equates to two and a half weeks dole and €300 relates to a week and a half’s payment.
Those who failed to appear in court were fined €500 and ordered to pay costs of €50 plus VAT.
One woman in Offaly who has three previous convictions was fined €600.
Those who had paid their licence fee after being summonsed and backdated the payment to cover the time they were visited, had their charges struck out, while those who paid for their licence but hadn’t backdated it were ordered to pay in the region of €200 and left with a conviction.
Those who hadn’t paid their licence fee and appeared before the court with no licence, with some stamps or with promises to pay by the end of the week, were hit with €500 fines.
There were more than two dozen prosecutions in Tullamore, but with a number of cases struck out, nineteen defendants will pay in the region of €7,000 in fines.
TV Licence Inspector Michael Teehan gave evidence in the cases on behalf of An Post and Judge Coughlan concluded operations in Edenderry with a ‘thank you’ to State Solicitor John Hughes for his ‘excellent presentation’.