Louise Evans, of Champion Road, Kingswood, was given an eight- month sentence in 2009 after she admitted false accounting and theft from Whitehall Rugby Club at Bristol Crown Court.
Despite selling her car and house in a bid to pay the club compensation, she was put back behind bars for another 12 months in February for not coughing up the full £27,000 she owed.Hurrah! That’s what you should expect when you can’t meet your legal obliga…
On Friday Lord Justice Moses branded the magistrates' decision a "basic error of law" and ordered that Evans be released "as fast as humanly possible".*sigh*
Lord Justice Moses, sitting with Mr Justice Eady …said: "The magistrates erred in two ways: Firstly in failing to have regard to the order of the crown court, in which it was accepted that she had no means to pay the confiscation order which was linked to the compensation order.
"The second error into which the magistrates fell arose out of their allision between the resources of her husband and her own resources."
He concluded: "She should never have been ordered to go to prison at all and the magistrates erred in serious measure in these two failings."So if you can’t pay, the justice system won’t make you pay, and won’t punish you with jail time either. Well, if you owe money to a third party, that is.
On the other hand, if you owe a debt to the state, you can just sit in jail until you come up with the goods.