Lord Maginnis: I won’t pay £1,500 train fine

Ken Maginnis TT1910-160JS
Ken Maginnis TT1910-160JS

A peer in the House of Lords has said he has no intention of paying the £1,500 he has been ordered to stump up by the courts over what he described as an “80p mistake” on a train in England.

Lord Maginnis told the News Letter he is refusing to pay a fine for boarding a train in England without a ticket because he had, in fact, purchased what later turned out to be an incorrect ticket.

The former Fermanagh and South Tyrone MP said: “They have convicted an old age pensioner over an 80p mistake.”

A judge ruled at Dungannon Magistrates’ court on Friday that goods belonging to the former Ulster Unionist politician are to be seized and sold to cover the fine he refuses to pay.

Lord Maginnis said: “At the end of the day I don’t want to embarrass the police and I hope they are not coming with a cudgel to knock in my door. I absolutely intend to fight it. I am not completely sure at the moment what my options are. I intend to fight it until they put me in a six foot by three space.

“It wasn’t that I was without a ticket at all. I had bought the wrong ticket. You could call it an 80p mistake. I could show you with the records from my debit card that I had bought a ticket every day and this time I bought the wrong one - there was 80p of difference.

“I offered to give him the £1. I was rushing to go and vote against same sex marriage that day so I gave him my card and said ‘tell your boss to send me the bill’. I suppose I lost my temper a bit and I shouldn’t have said that. The next thing you know I got a summons.

“Can you imagine this 19 stone, 75-year-old as I was then, slipping through a barrier?

“It’s about time the bullying and taking advantage of old age pensioners is put to an end. It is not just train companies - look at what they do at some the electric companies, some of the telecommunications companies, bumping up the prices. Nobody cares about the bullying of the old age pensioners but I’m not having it. I’m a hard-nosed old person. They have convicted an old age pensioner over an 80p mistake.”

Lord Maginnis was convicted by a court in London of boarding a train on March 5 without a valid ticket. He must pay a £250 fine plus £1,239 costs. The lifetime peer also told the News Letter that the case has already cost him £3,200 in legal fees