Nun is sued by bus firm for pounds 1

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The Independent Online
A BUS company yesterday defended its decision to prosecute a nun who missed her stop when she fell asleep.

Magistrates decided not to award the pounds 1 compensation requested by London Buses and gave Sister Virtus Okwaraoha, 32, a conditional discharge after she pleaded guilty.

A spokesman for London Buses said: "We are not questioning the sister's honesty, or suggesting that she tried to cheat us. All we are saying is that she broke the rules.

"We lose millions of pounds a year because people don't pay their fares. Falling asleep is not an excuse we can accept."

Unlike London Underground, which asks passengers to pay a pounds 10 fine if they have travelled without a ticket, London Buses automatically prosecutes around 10,000 people a year. It is believed the prosecution would have cost the company hundreds of pounds.

Sister Virtus' lawyer, Cosmas Anyakudo, said: "It was a bizarre case, and quite unbelievable. It was like breaking an egg with a sledgehammer."

Sister Virtus, a hospital chaplain in Clapham, south London, told Horseferry Road magistrates court yesterday that she had asked to pay a pounds 5 fixed penalty so that she could go.