A SCARBOROUGH fisherman has been jailed after he told magistrates he did not pay his court fines because he spent his lavish wages “on drugs and beer”.
Stephen Phillips, 29, of Royal Avenue, said he earned up to £1,000 a week while working as a relief fisherman out of Grimsby, but denied having a drug problem.
He was hauled before Scarborough Magistrates’ Court for breaching a community order, which he had been handed for an assault in August last year. His unpaid fines were then addressed.
Lesley Wray, of the probation service, said that Phillips had been ordered to carry out unpaid work after punching a man in Scarborough’s probation service offices.
She said: “The victim attended for an appointment. The defendant walked in and punched him to the right side of the jaw.
“It was unprovoked, and he did not even speak to the victim or give a reason as to why he attacked him.”
She added that Phillips had then failed to attend two unpaid work appointments on January 23 and March 20.
She said: “He said he was available on the 20th, 21st and 22nd of March, but he did not attend as agreed and there have been no hours completed since then.
“We have very little confidence in him complying with the order of the court. I would ask that you revoke the order and re-sentence for the original offence.”
In total, Phillips had completed just 44 hours of unpaid work since August. He had been ordered to complete 100 hours for the initial offence, while another 50 hours had been added for an earlier breach of the order.
Magistrates then took the opportunity to quiz Phillips about the money which he owed to the court.
In August 2010 he had been ordered to pay £500 in costs and a fine of £120, but nothing had been to the court.
Under oath, he told the court that he had no income or savings, despite earning between £300 and £1,000 per week from the end of December until last month.
“I spent all my money on drugs and beer,” he said, before saying he did not believe that he had a problem with substance abuse and had applied for state benefits since his employment ended.
Marcus Topham, mitigating, said that his client had missed unpaid work appointments because he had been called to sea at short notice.
He added: “He is no longer in full time employment and is free 24/7. He is not a work shy individual. I propose that you allow the community order to continue, and deal with the punishment with a curfew order.”
Mr Topham added that his client had been assaulted in the past by the man he attacked in the probation office, and that he had punched him as a pre-emptive act.
Magistrates rejected Mr Topham’s suggestion and revoked the community order and re-sentenced Phillips.
He was given 12 weeks jail for the original assault and an additional four weeks in lieu of outstanding fines.
“You had the money but made no effort to pay, despite earning a substantial sum,” the chairman of the bench said. “You were given a number of chances.”