Fine defaulter in bid to come clean

A former New Plymouth man wanted on a three-year-old disqualified driving charge returned from the mines cashed up and ready to face the music.

Michael Totara Watts, 29, flew in from Western Australia and handed himself in to police, his lawyer Julian Hannam said in the New Plymouth District Court.

He had returned "cashed-up" in order to come clean after making a new life for himself in Western Australia.

His fines and penalties now totalled $11,000, Hannam said, comparing the accumulating interest rates to what happened to people with student loans who failed to pay them.

Hannam asked that Watts be given a stiff fine allowing him to be free to return to Australia. He had $5000 to cover the fine and pay off his past fines.

He was already paying $250 a week off the fines.

Judge Allan Roberts said with the $250 a week being paid off Watts hadn't defaulted entirely.

The judge fined Watts $2000 to be paid immediately and the remaining $3000 to be paid off his outstanding fines.

The 12-month driving disqualification for what was Watts' third disqualified driving charge would not apply overseas, the judge said.

"Thank you, Your Honour," Watts said on leaving the dock.

Taranaki Daily News