Terrace man ordered to pay fine of $1.30

Change in the law responsible for the unusual dollar value of the fine

A LOCAL homeless man has been ordered to pay a fine of $1.30 in addition to being sent to jail for causing a disturbance, thanks to a change in the law.

Clyde Doolan, 43, was also given until February 2019 to pay the fine, believed to be one of the lowest assessed.

Doolan had been arrested Jan. 19 when he became belligerent and abusive after being taken to hospital due to his level of intoxication, reported Terrace RCMP.

Earlier that day, police had been called after he passed out on the train tracks and was nearly hit by a train, which shut down the rail yard, said police.

Doolan’s sentence, which also includes 30 days in jail, was given by Judge Ronald Caryer in provincial court here Jan. 20.

The fine of $1.30 is in two parts, $1 as part of the sentence and 30 cents, or 30 per cent of the fine, as an add on to pay for services for victims of crimes.

Up until last fall, the victim services fee surcharge could be waived if a judge felt it would cause undue hardship.

But federal legislation passed last fall in a bid to toughen sentencing provisions now makes imposition of the surcharge mandatory.

That same legislation also doubled the value of the surcharge from 15 to 30 per cent of the original fine.

“The law is now the judge has no discretion to waive the victim fine surcharge,” said defence lawyer Timothy Klaassen.

“Given that Mr. Doolan is homeless and going off to jail, the judge found that the victim fine surcharge should be as low as possible so the fine was $1 and the victim fine surcharge is then 30 cents,” said Klaassen.

“So Mr. Doolan has to pay $1.30.”

If no fine is imposed, the victim services fee surcharge is automatically $100 for a summary conviction and $200 for an indictable offence conviction.

“The judge basically wanted to show compassion to Mr. Doolan,” said Klaassen.

Offenders who can’t afford the victim fine surcharge can participate in a fine option program if available, which allows them to work off the fines with volunteer work.

However, B.C. doesn’t have this program, but is looking into it, says a provincial justice official.

If someone can’t pay the fine, it’s possible to apply for more time to pay or ask to serve time in jail instead of paying the surcharge, the official added.

Terrace RCMP Const. Angela Rabut said the Jan. 19 arrest of Doolan was the 10th time officers have been called about him since Jan. 6.

Out of those 10 times, he had been arrested six times, she added.

Charges of wilfully resisting or obstructing a peace officer and mischief $5,000 or under were stayed by the court.