The supreme court has cut the penalty imposed on a woman who was ordered to pay €450 for violating the Covid mandates, with the judges ruling it be reduced to €150.
The woman had initially been fined €300 for not having a valid SafePass while shopping at a supermarket in mid-August 2021.
The fine subsequently rose to €450, which she unsuccessfully appealed in court which had ruled that it could be paid in monthly installments over ten months instead.
The appellant had argued that she had mitigating circumstances, stating that she had no work as she had recently undergone surgery on her leg.
“I do not have the money to pay the fine, I understand the situation with Covid – I believe that covid exists – I’m not one of those who do not believe, but then, at that moment, I did not have the SafePass – I’ve already taken the second vaccine dose,” her appeal to the supreme court stated.
However – the supreme court ruled on Tuesday that the initial court should have taken into consideration that it was an out of court fine and further considered the appellant’s financial situation – so that the punishment was not disproportionate to her being able to pay, therefore becoming overly punitive and excessive under the circumstances.
“Either the [court of first instance] deemed it, as a matter of principle, correct to not hand down a fine of less than €450, or because it viewed the fine as appropriate under the conditions of the punishment, the result is the same – that the punishment was manifestly excessive, in the relation to the financial circumstances of the appellant,” it stated.
As such, the fine has been substituted and is replaced with one of €150 which may be paid over a period of five months, beginning from August 1.
Elsewhere, the court noted that the maximum penalties which may be imposed for violations of the Covid decrees are one year imprisonment and or a fine of up to €50,000.