The consequences can be severe," he said.
I doubt it. I suspect he made more than he was fined for.
"Not only can it can lead to a day in court and the attendant media coverage, but it can cost a person their job and can damage their future career prospects."
If the result is not a criminal record (which it is not - it's just an ICO fine), it will make a difference only if his previous employer is willing to give him a negative reference. Very few are. At most they will decline a reference.