Lentil as Anything founder: Shanaka Fernando is fighting 52 road fines. Australia's Local Hero 2007. A GOOD Samaritan restaurant owner faces jail after he was exposed as a serial road menace. Shanaka Fernando, who created the Lentil As Anything restaurants placed around Melbourne, racked up 52 infringements, many of which he has blamed on refugees and employees. And while he admits "being stupid" for his poor driving record, he says he was too busy "helping heroin addicts" and the needy to pay his fines. Mr Fernando faced Melbourne Magistrates' Court over 52 unpaid fines. They included speeding, running red lights, using a mobile phone while driving, driving an unregistered vehicle and 15 parking infringements. It was ruled he must pay $14,428.50 or be jailed. Mr Fernando's restaurants have become a hit as they do not charge for meals, rather allowing patrons to choose the price they want to pay. While the restaurants receive considerable donations, Mr Fernando says money is tight. He claims he does not pay himself a wage and lives "off no money". But Magistrate Jelena Popovic said Mr Fernando had demonstrated no desire to obey the rule of law. Mr Fernando applied to have the charges dismissed, citing financial hardship. But Ms Popovic said: "His lifestyle choice is that he has chosen not to participate in the day-to-day economy. He chose not to pay the fines. He took no action whatsoever to convert the fines to community work or to make any form of payment. He is clearly of the view that there should be no consequence to his repeat offending." She also questioned Mr Fernando's "credo". "What is of concern is that Mr Fernando's moral credo does not extend to upholding the laws of the state of Victoria," she said. But Mr Fernando told the Herald Sun the magistrate may have "shown him no compassion" because of his profile. "Having these awards and a profile in the community makes me a target for judges and people who are wanting to have kudos for their position of authority," he said. "The situation is a combination of me lending my car to people and me not being as careful as I should. I experience life in the community like a frontline soldier, so I don't find myself giving enough time and attention to things like parking fines, and I don't have the money to pay them. "If I have to (go to jail) then I will ... but there is an irony here, that I have a judge telling me that I have a debt to the community, but if I collected a wage like a normal restaurant then I would have clearly earned a million dollars," he said. Justus.