(Thanks to one of the many anonymouses for inspiring a small correction to my version of events hereunder. Does that affect your comment, Kenny ?)
The accused was a gorgeous woman who appeared in the dock in quite the ensemble.
Actually the truth was very different, but if I'm going to be changing the details to protect identities, it seems a shame not to imagine some beauty and glamour. Plus when it comes to making a film version of the blog, here's a part ready-made for Monica Belluchi.
So, let's imagine that the accused was a gorgeous woman.
If you had asked me last month, I would have said that short prison sentences did not work and that fine defaulters shouldn't go to prison.
So how did it happen that my two colleagues and I recently sent this vision of beauty to prison for a relatively short time for non-payment of fines ?
The unpleasant reality is that some time ago she was found guilty of a serious offence and fined. Then, when in considerable arrears with paying the considerable fine, she was given the choice of getting her payments back on track or doing some time in prison.
She chose to say that she would pay the fine.
And then she did not actually pay the fine.
This isn't right and there ensued a long series of events, over a matter of years, during which there were many opportunities for her to save her liberty by coming to an arrangement with the courts. She hadn't made a payment in over a year when she got dragged back into our court to explain herself.
So, we sent her to prison. I understand that the jails are full and that fine defaulters are not a priority, but really - could she reasonably have expected us to do anything other ?
If the threat of prison for non-payment is an empty one, then who in their right mind would ever pay a fine ? And then what would be the point of fining anyone ?