“My lawyers told me to plead guilty, but I didn’t want to plead guilty. The case was nonsense.” Norwich Boxer Herbie Hide on his failure to pay court fines
08:37 22 September 2012
PA Wire/Press Association Images
Former world heavyweight champion Herbie Hide has broken his silence after a court warrant was issued over an unpaid fine he has been ordered to pay following a conviction for assault.
Mr Hide, 41, from Bawburgh, near Norwich, has been ordered to pay a total of £1,515, which was imposed after he pleaded guilty to an offence of common assault at Norwich Crown Court in June last year.
Mr Hide has not paid the fine despite being ordered by Norwich Magistrates’ Court in February to do so by the end of March or face 45 days in prison and has since had a warrant issued by the court to get him to reappear over the matter.
City magistrates confirmed a committal warrant had been issued on September 6.
They said the warrant, which is in relation to the £1,515 fine, is with the bailiffs who will visit Mr Hide and give him a date when he must attend court, although because of “data protection act”, could not disclose any more information.
But the boxer, who held the World Boxing Organisation version of the heavyweight title twice, including a two-year reign from 1997 to 1999, came out fighting over the matter yesterday.
Speaking from London, Mr Hide said: “My lawyers told me to plead guilty, but I didn’t want to plead guilty. The case was nonsense.
“I’ve never been happy about pleading guilty in that. I’m going to get advice from a lawyer and see what I can do.
“I want it to go to the High Court; I’m not having it. I’m a fighter so if I believe I’m right I’m going to fight. I’m not just going to take it on the chin - I’m going to fight, right or wrong.”
However, a spokesman for Belmores, who represented Mr Hide at the time, has responded. He said: “If Mr Hide has issues regarding the plea he entered he is entitled to seek legal advice from other lawyers as to his remedies.”
Mr Hide, who fought most of his career at heavyweight before moving to cruiserweight, did not say he would refuse to pay the fine, but did not believe it was right and so was intent on trying to do something about it.
He added: “I’m not saying I’m not going to pay. If I have to pay, I have to pay but at the moment I’m looking at a way not to pay because they told me to plead guilty about it.
“I want the chance to go back to court and explain to them and let them know that I was told by my lawyers to plead guilty. I never wanted to. I want to take this whole thing back to court.”
Mr Hide said he did not know if bailiffs had been round to his property as he “doesn’t stay there that much” and was “in London most of the time”.
Mr Hide had initially been charged with assault occasioning actual bodily harm in relation to an offence on October 3, 2010 and was due to stand trial last year.
But in the end Mr Hide pleaded guilty to a lesser offence of common assault and was ordered to pay £1,000 compensation to his victim, a £350 fine, £150 costs and £15 to funds in support of victims of crime.
At a hearing before magistrates in February, Mr Hide said the fines were set too high because of who he was and added his work was fighting but he was “getting old now” and “getting a bad back”.
When asked if he was able to pay the fine, Mr Hide said yesterday: “I’ve had a friend tell me that a lot of people think I’ve got no TV in my house, no settee or no furniture and I just sitting there in a mansion by myself looking good with no TV in it.
“For many years there’s been rumours; ‘the house is not his’, I’ve sold my house, I’ve done this to it...What I do now is just go along with it.”
He added: “I’ve always got money troubles. My main money trouble is I’m always looking for money. I’ve never gone and asked people for work; my work is to knock people out and I’m good at it.”