A Rotorua teenager at the centre of a national outcry for having his huge fines debt wiped is likely to spend Christmas behind bars.

Nigel Caleb Wikiriwhi Dixon yesterday admitted in the Rotorua District Court he had done nothing to work off the $43,000 fines debt that was wiped in exchange for 300 hours' community work.

The 17-year-old pleaded guilty to a charge of breaching community work by failing to make contact with a Community Probation Service officer after being sentenced on November 24.

The sentence sparked fury from politicians and the public who were outraged he would effectively be working off his debt at a rate of $144 an hour.

The latest charge carries a maximum sentence of three months' jail.

Judge James Weir described the teenager's list of convictions since January 2002 as "appalling", and his criminal record as "truly impressive".

"You have attracted a degree of publicity that is totally out of proportion to the contribution you make to the community," he said.

"What I have in mind is a sentence of imprisonment."

However, Mr Dixon could not be sentenced yesterday because the duty solicitor, Dafydd Malcolm, was not suitably qualified to deal with the matter as a legal aid lawyer.

Mr Malcolm told the judge that Mr Dixon was to seek legal advice and was likely to apply for bail in the near future.

Judge Weir said he agreed with the probation service recommendation of a term in jail.

"Your offending is simply not going to be tolerated."

He remanded Mr Dixon in custody to reappear for sentencing on December 17.