“This ($44k) is the biggest SPER debt I’ve seen all year."
A $44,000 debt hangs over Adrian Paul Kemp's head.
Shocked gasps filled Rockhampton Magistrates Court yesterday morning when Magistrate Michael O'Driscoll shared Kemp's State Penalty Enforcement Registry arrears.
SPER is responsible for the collection and enforcement of unpaid infringement notice fines, court-ordered penalties, offender debt recovery orders and offender levies.
The Rockhampton man appeared in court on a public nuisance charge.
The court heard that at 1am on February 20, Kemp was involved in a disturbance involving 30 people which spilled onto the roadway and adjoining car park outside the Leichhardt Hotel in Bolsover St.
The police prosecutor said Kemp was the main aggressor in a four-person scuffle and was subsequently charged with a public nuisance offence.
Kemp pleaded guilty to the offence and while the crime would usually be dealt with by a fine, Mr O'Driscoll was forced to impose stronger action.
"You have a $44,000 SPER debt and there have been no payments made in a decade," Mr O'Driscoll said.
"This is the biggest SPER debt I've seen all year.
"Fines don't seem to be a punishment for you. Imprisonment is the only appropriate penalty."
Kemp was sentenced to six months imprisonment, suspended immediately.
The Morning Bulletin has reported on Kemp's court appearances in the past.
His criminal history includes serious assault charges for spitting on an ambulance officer and taxi driver, as well as drink driving charges.
In total, 6115 Rockhampton residents owe $14,449,000 in SPER debt with an average of $2363 owed per person.
SPER could not comment on Kemp's debt due to privacy laws.