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New financial penalties boost court income

The amount of money collected from convicted criminals in fines and other penalties has gone up by nearly 70 per cent in three years.

Fewer than 10 per cent of court cases were settled with a prison term in 2008, statistics released on Friday show.

Courts collected a total of SFr80 million ($78 million) in 2008, up from SFr47 million in 2005. Half of those convicted last year had to pay at least SFr800.

Under a system introduced in 2007, those found guilty of minor crimes usually receive a fine plus a prison sentence expressed in terms of a financial penalty.

The penalty is set at a certain number of francs for every day the convicted person would have spent in prison. It is up to the judge to determine the daily rate.

However, in practice these penalties are usually suspended, while the fine normally has to be paid.

A fine plus a financial penalty in lieu of prison was imposed in 86 per cent of the 91,200 convictions of adults in 2008. and agencies


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