Wigan dad narrowly avoids jail over decade of unpaid fines

A Wigan dad who has failed to pay thousands of pounds in fines, some dating back 10 years, has been given a second chance.

Sam Flynn was handed a suspended jail term by borough justices after failing to fork out £5,842 in costs and fines.

Wigan and Leigh Courthouse, where the hearing took place

Wigan and Leigh Courthouse, where the hearing took place

The 28-year-old, of Recreation Avenue, Bickershaw, told the bench he would pay the money, which includes £1,500 in compensation to someone he assaulted in his teens.

Flynn, a self-employed cladder, surrendered himself after a warrant was issued for his arrest.

Magistrates heard how he was ordered to pay the compensation back in April 2009, after being convicted of actual bodily harm. Since then, Flynn has only paid £250, prompting his victim to contact the court and inquire about the money.

The bench heard he also owed money for criminal damage, dropping litter, failing to stop at the scene of a crash and driving without insurance.

Kathryn Lloyd, defending, said her client had led a “nomadic” lifestyle and missed some of the letters, but was now getting his life back on track.

“For most of his adult life he has been moving around to find work,” she said. “Sometimes he has had no income at all. The more positive news is that he set up his own company earlier this year and thankfully he has remained in work for the last few months.”

Ms Lloyd said jailing Flynn would not only affect his business, but people who depend on him for employment: “It would have a knock-on effect not only for himself but for those he subcontracts to.”

She said that any jail time would prevent her client from earning the money to pay back to his victim. She added: “He has made great strides in his personal life. I would ask you to give him this last opportunity.”

Bench chair Geoff Vickers told Flynn that compensation was the priority, and that the court was taking his failure to pay very seriously.

He was sentenced to 90 days’ custody, suspended. He will pay £200 a month and if any more payments are missed he will be brought back before the court.