PortAndCheese wrote:I'm sure Timothy will correct my understanding of the legal system, but if the fees covered go to the CAA, why not punish the deceiptful a little harsher and save the rest of us a few pennies?
Setting of fines, costs and compensation is more complicated than just equating the seriousness of the offence with a financial penalty; it also takes into account the impact on the defendant and his ability to pay.
If someone is on benefits of £60 per week, fining him £150 and having him pay at £5 per week will have a greater impact than making a CEO pay £150, which he will not even notice leaving his credit card. Thus the CEO gets a higher fine for the same offence, trying to equalise the impact. Fines go to Central Funds.
Costs go to the prosecutor, and have to be justified as reasonably incurred, though, where the prosecutor is the CPS there is a scale of charges so that time is not wasted accounting for the minutes spent by prosecutor on each case file. Once the prosecutor submits their costs, the court will determine (a) if they are reasonably incurred and proportionate and (b) whether the defendant has the means to pay. The costs are not a punishment, but simply to reimburse the prosecutor for some or all of the costs disbursed. The court can order that none, some or all of the costs are paid by the defendant, depending on means and circumstances.
Compensation goes to the loser or victim. They can be for actual loss (cost of replacing the window, or insurance excess) or for injury or distress. In the case of loss, the court likes to see evidence (invoice from the glazier) but can make a judgement call. In the case of injury or distress there is a recommended scale, which is used as a starting point in setting the level of compensation. Again, compensation is only set to a level that the defendant can pay, so someone on benefits who has knocked down a railway bridge would not be expected to pay hundreds of thousands.
For completeness, there is also something called the Victim Surcharge, which, despite its name, goes to Central Funds. It has been a flat £15 for all fines raised, but is about to be massively expanded to cover all disposals.
Does that help?