A woman has been fined nearly £300 for stealing three bottles of baby milk at South Derbyshire Magistrates Court this week.
Janis Butans, 34, was given a six-week community order with a curfew and ordered to pay a £150 criminal court fee, £85 costs and a £60 victim surcharge after sentenced for stealing the bottles from a Sainsbury’s in Intu Derby shopping centre coming to a total of £295, according to the Derby Telegraph.
It comes less than a week after the Independent reported a crowdfunding campaign had been set up to help a woman in Kidderminster pay court fines of nearly £330 for stealing a 75p pack of Mars Bars.
The fundraising page, which was set up by Stuart Campbell after he saw the original court report in the Kidderminster Shuttle, has now reached over £14,000 in less than a week.
Mandatory court fines were brought in by former Justice Secretary Chris Grayling shortly before the general election in May to make the courts more self financing.
But the charges have been denounced by legal reform charity, the Howard League, as “unequitable”. The charity’s chief executive Frances Crook said: “There is no leeway. Its a fixed charge and the courts cannot vary it because of circumstance, they have to impose it”
In a blogpost on the league’s website, she said the reports of “the homeless and hungry” being heavily fined “read like something from pre-Dickens”.