Advice on possible prosecution

Discussion in 'Disputes & Prosecutions' started by cari, 10 Jun 2015.

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  1. cari

    cari Member

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    I bought a ticket from a rural station to a station that takes Oyster. I got off the train, swiped my oyster and continued on my journey to Liverpool Street. At Liverpool St I couldn't get through at the barrier.

    I went up to the guards at the barrier and said that there must be a problem with my Oyster as I couldn't get through. They told me to wait for an inspector. The inspector checked my Oyster and said that I hadn't swiped in at the station. I showed her the train ticket and explained what i had done. She said that she was going to charge me a Penalty Fare. I said that as she could see from my Oyster, I had swiped out at this station and done the same thing on the way back. She said it didn't matter and she would charge me a penalty fare. I said that I wasn't willing to pay a penalty fare but would pay for the remainder of my journey in full and gave her the money. She said that she wouldn't take anything but the full fare and penalty fare.

    I paid for the ticket but didn't want to pay for the penalty fare saying that I wasn't demonstrating fare evasion, had offered to pay for my ticket there and then (I approached her with the cash in hand) and didn't think it was reasonable to charge me a penalty.

    She began to make a fuss and said I could be prosecuted then demanded my name and address for the penalty fare. I gave her the wrong address as i didn't feel that I had to pay it. She called someone to verify the address and said it was wrong and that I was now going to be taken to court. Then asked me for a statement. I gave the statement and signed it and gave her the correct address. She said that I was now going to be prosecuted for fare evasion. I said that I had offered to pay the fare and handed her the money.

    She gave me back the money I had given her for the fare.

    I have no idea what to do as I don't want a criminal record. I could do with some advice on this please.
     
  2. yorkie

    yorkie Administrator Staff Member Administrator

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    Did you get the green light and entry sound?

    I guess not.

    What does your journey history say? Can you upload a screenshot?
    If you accidentally didn't touch in, even if you thought you did, you are liable to pay a Penalty Fare, which you can appeal.

    They shouldn't demand the full amount there and then but are entitled to demand, for immediate payment, the cash single fare (whether this requirement is compatible with modern payment methods is debatable but that isn't going to help your case)
    The ticket inspector agreed that you were not - at that stage - demonstrating fare evasion, therefore charging you a penalty fare. I know the franchise changed hands since this was published but this leaflet spells it out clearer than any others I've seen:

    That is, as a minimum, a strict liability non-recordable criminal offence under the Railway Byelaws, as well as potentially providing possible evidence of intent to avoid payment, which is a much more serious recordable offence. The legislation they will use to prosecute you will depend on all the available evidence, including the statement at the time. They will probably write to you and ask for a written statement too.
    You were initially asked to pay a higher than normal fare, called a Penalty Fare, for a mistake. But you refused to pay it, and gave false details, making it much more serious.

    Perhaps you could reach an out of court settlement (see 8.7.1.3 Out of Court Settlement) with Greater Anglia, though they are under no obligation to do so.
     
  3. cari

    cari Member

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    That isn't how it was explained to me by the inspector. She said that she was charging me the fare PLUS a penalty fare. I asked how much the fare was from where I had travelled. I gave her the money for the fare. As far as I'm aware (I looked this up when I got home) that I have the right to make only "a minimum payment that is equal to the full single fare which [you] would have had to pay for [your] journey if penalty fares had not applied." This is section 8 (2) of the Penalty Fares Rules 2002.

    She had the fare for the journey in front of her and wanted my address to pay the penalty fare. I in fact offered to pay for the penalty fare by card there and then but she wouldn't accept the payments to be split. So I therefore paid the full fare for the ticket and she took my address to pay the penalty fare.

    I did not refuse to pay at first, I offered the money for my ticket and was going to pay the fare but then got really annoyed by her attitude.

    It was on my Oyster that I had made the same journey the other way in exactly the way I had described. There was no sign on my Oyster that I had tapped in. I had the ticket up to that Oyster destination. There was no way I could get through Liverpool Street without having tapped in and knew that. I can't have pressed down properly on the Oyster, I tapped it and ran off to get back on the train. (This happened to me before at a machine before I jumped on a bus. It was registered that I had actually put the money in but my Oyster didn't register it and I was kicked off the bus for not enough money even though I had just tapped money in. TFL recognised that this had happened and the money was put onto my card).

    The inspector said that since I had made the same journey in the way I had just described showing on my Oyster that it backed up what I was saying.
     
  4. DaleCooper

    DaleCooper Established Member

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    These two statements appear contradictory, you need to get your story straight.
     
  5. cari

    cari Member

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    I wasn't given any paperwork. She wrote my statement on a notebook then said I would be 'hearing from her boss'.

    I realise that I made a mistake in giving the wrong address and offered to pay the penalty fare there and then after she found out but she refused it and handed me back all the money I had given her. So I offered to pay the Penalty Fare twice and paid the fare for my journey. I gave the wrong address which I shouldn't have done and I take responsiblity for that. The inspector didn't say I would have the option to state any of this she said that I was going to receive a court summons.
    --- old post above --- --- new post below ---
    I don't understand how.

    1. I paid for the single fare in cash (approx 12.50)
    2. I said I would pay the penalty fare separately as I didn't have enough cash on me for that as well. I offered my card for the rest but she wouldn't split the payment.
    3. I gave the wrong address in order to pay the penalty fare
    4. She then gave me back the single fare money and said because I had given the wrong adddress that I would be prosecuted.
    5. I said just take the money for the penalty fare then and handed over my card
    6. She refused to take the card and said to expect a court summons.

    At no time did I refuse to pay it but I gave the wrong address after giving the full fare to her. This was in order to pay the Penalty fare which she said I had 21 days or something to pay.

    Sorry I just re read what I wrote in my first post. When she wouldn't take the card for the payment I got really annoyed with her and said that I didn't think I had to pay it as I hadn't deliberately avoided paying my fare and it was a simple mistake. That I had offered to pay her as soon as I saw the mistake and didn't understand why I was being penalised. I then gave the wrong address and then offered my card after she talked about prosecution to pay it there and then but she refused.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: 10 Jun 2015
  6. Harlan Cage

    Harlan Cage Member

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    You might find that you need the advice of a lawyer, which is expensive however having conviction on your record could cause you a lot off problems in the future!

    HC
     
  7. cari

    cari Member

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    I'll wait and see what the letter says either regarding court or to make a statement. Just because she says I'll be prosecuted doesn't mean I will. Thank you though, I'll see someone for legal advice in the next couple of weeks.
     
  8. DaleCooper

    DaleCooper Established Member

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    Be patient you only started this thread about an hour and a half ago. I wouldn't be surprised if a lot more advice was forthcoming from other members.
     
  9. Clip

    Clip Established Member

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    Oh so you offered to pay the PF after she confirmed that you had lied? No wonder she didnt let you pay it. You lied. You are a prime candidate for a prosecution. Naughty boy/girl When will people learn?
     
    Last edited: 10 Jun 2015
  10. MikeWh

    MikeWh Established Member Senior Fares Advisor

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    What makes you sure cari is a boy? or even male?
     
  11. Clip

    Clip Established Member

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    Does it really matter? I shall change it just to appease you.
     
  12. cari

    cari Member

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    No. If you're going to be judgemental and patronizing it helps to have read the whole thread.

    I paid for the fare and offered the rest on card and she refused.
    She asked for my address
    I gave the wrong address
    I offered to pay it all on my card (since she wouldn't accept cash/card)
    She refused.
     
  13. Flamingo

    Flamingo Established Member

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    By not having a valid ticket/oyster card you had already committed a Bylaw offence (probably, it depends on where you boarded and a few other things that are not relevant but if I don't mention the pedants will have a field day).
    The Revenue inspector offered to dispose of this by means of a penalty fare, as she accepted your story that it was a mistake.
    (I don't understand why you did not offer to pay the whole thing on the card at first).
    When you were unable to pay the whole amount, she asked for your details.
    You gave incorrect details. This was a more serious offence (Regulation of the Railway act), as now it has gone from a simple mistake to false details and a deliberate attempt to avoid payment of the fare due (which by this stage was the penalty fare, not the basic one).
    That's why they are writing to you, as you have managed to escalate a simple failure to touch in to false details, which is a much more serious offence.
     
  14. cari

    cari Member

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    I understand all this - I'm asking for advice not an explanation. Thanks.
     
  15. Flamingo

    Flamingo Established Member

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    I'm glad you do understand it, the tone of your posts to date didn't give that impression.

    As regards advice, start thinking of the grovelling letter you can write when they contact you (keep it concise and apologetic, tales of how with a criminal conviction you will never be able to pursue your chosen career in the law/medicine/the USA are so passe as to be ignored at this stage), and start saving for the several hundred pounds you will probably have to pay them for the out of court settlement they may agree to on the back of the letter.

    And next time, either ensure the card has tapped in, or pay the PF without any attitude.
     
    Last edited: 10 Jun 2015
  16. cari

    cari Member

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    Does an out of court settlement mean I have a criminal conviction?
     
  17. najaB

    najaB Veteran Member

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    So you were offered the opportunity to correct your ticketing irregularity by means of a Penalty Fare but refused.

    So, you think that it's up to the passenger (you) to determine when it is/is not 'reasonable' to charge a penalty fare? If that was the case, who would ever volunteer to pay?

    I'm sorry, I don't follow your logic here. What is the thought process that goes from 'I'm totally innocent' to 'I'll pretend to be someone else'?
    --- old post above --- --- new post below ---
    No. It is an out of court settlement.
     
  18. Flamingo

    Flamingo Established Member

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    No, it would be a private matter between you and the company where you offer to cover their administrative costs in dealing with the matter and make restitution of the fare due, in return for not taking the case to court. Usually it is a one-time offer, and if caught again, it will not be offered a second time - you don't get two angels. It will not be offered at all unless the individual can express suitable remorse, mitigation, and apology.

    Some companies (like Northern) have a standard figure, some companies it can depend on the case, some (like TfL, I believe) very rarely agree to it.
     
    Last edited: 10 Jun 2015
  19. bb21

    bb21 Moderator Staff Member Moderator

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    When you said that after you paid your full single fare, she asked for your address so you could pay the Penalty Fare, are you sure she didn't mean "the rest of the Penalty Fare" rather than a brand new Penalty Fare again? From your first post, you said "She said that she was going to charge me a Penalty Fare", which from what I can tell was the correct course of action as that was for when no intent to avoid paying the correct fare was suspected and that it was accepted that you made a mistake.

    Providing a false address for the remainder of the Penalty Fare was good proof that you intended on avoiding payment of the rest of the Penalty Fare, so she was correct to reimburse you the money you had already paid and prepare the course for prosecution. At that moment, the offer of a Penalty Fare was withdrawn as it was no longer a Penalty Fare matter. The offer of a Penalty Fare was always discretionary and your actions suggested that discretion was no longer appropriate.

    When you said "she wouldn't accept the payments to be split" it made no sense if she were going to charge you the single fare plus a brand new Penalty Fare (which, if charged, would have been incorrect) because if that were the case there were no splits in payment. You had not paid a penny of the brand new Penalty Fare. It was cash (I assume) for the full single fare, and you wanted to pay the Penalty Fare on card. Very odd if she rejected that. If you offered to pay the Penalty Fare after providing a wrong address then all bets are off.

    When you said that she then "gave me back the single fare money" it sounded to me that it was part of the Penalty Fare , ie. the minimum payment, rather than something brand new, but I am getting awfully confused by your account of the events.
     
  20. cari

    cari Member

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    I'm not explaining this again.




    No. It is an out of court settlement.[/QUOTE]

    That's what I wanted to know, thank you.

    Without being sanctimonious, can someone please explain to me how much is usually charged for an out of court settlement? If for example I write a letter and apologise and they accept what happened what's the minimum? I understand the maximum is a criminal conviction and they can charge up to £1000 but surely I won't have to pay a grand in an out of court settlement?
    --- old post above --- --- new post below ---

    I was confused as well. I didn't know what a Penalty Fare was. I think what she did was charge me twice the train fare from where I tapped in the Oyster. It was around twenty three pounds altogether. I only had fifteen pounds on me in cash so offered to pay the single fare in cash there and then and the rest on card there and then. She said it couldn't be split. So I gave her the amount of the single fare in cash which she accepted and she asked me for my name and address. I gave the wrong name and address. She didn't say that it now proved I had intention to evade the fare, she said that giving the wrong name and address was an offence and she needed to take a statement. I gave a statement and the right name and address and she gave me back the single fare I had paid in cash.
     
  21. Flamingo

    Flamingo Established Member

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    There was a case recently where £45000 was paid in an out-of-court settlement for several years worth of fraud involving an Oyster card.

    The thing you have to remember is that you have zero negotiating tools at this stage. Your two options are to pay any out of court settlement offered (regardless of size) or refuse any offer and go to court. The question you have to ask yourself is, do you really think you would plead "Not Guilty" and get away with it? And a Guilty plea will incur greater costs than an y settlement, as it will not only include the admin costs, but the court costs and surcharges as well, along with any fine imposed (typically £400, I believe) etc. Plus the buggerance of having a court conviction on your record.
     
    Last edited: 10 Jun 2015
  22. cari

    cari Member

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    If that is the case I surely need the advice of a solicitor? So I wont' get a chance to tell them what happened, apologise and say I panicked and made a mistake?
     
  23. Flamingo

    Flamingo Established Member

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    They will probably write you to to ask for your side of the story. That's the stage to write back and apologise. Some people on here will be able to advise what to say. Instructing a solicitor at this stage would probably cost the same as any settlement, and not achieve anything. If the case is heading for court, that's different.

    Is thios the first time you have had a "ticket issue"?
     
    Last edited: 10 Jun 2015
  24. bb21

    bb21 Moderator Staff Member Moderator

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    Ah, I see. This is becoming a bit clearer now.

    You were not charged the single fare plus a brand new Penalty Fare (which would not be allowed). The Penalty Fare should be £20 or twice the single fare, whichever is greater, so in your case it would have been £23 (or thereabouts). I can't really say much about the split payment situation as I don't know much about that, but is there any reason why you didn't just put the whole amount on your card, if you were going to pay it anyway by split payments?

    I think the way things have gone, you might as well wait for them to write to you now. Normally they would give you an opportunity to explain your version of the events, in which case you have a few options. You could try and explain things from your perspective and hope that they would be lenient, but in view of the fact that you provided incorrect details in the course, I think the chance of that happening is low. You could try seeking out an out of court settlement with the company by grovelling and apologising for your actions and hope that they would accept it. For a first offence if you show the right attitude there is a good chance it would be. Figures range from £80 upwards from reports on this forum, and a minor first offence should not cost more than £200 to settle.

    You could of course refuse to provide any explanation and let them take you to court. They may or may drop the case altogether but I don't think it would be wise to do that considering how it went.
     
  25. cari

    cari Member

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    Well if it's going to be thousands, then a solicitor would be helpful? Yes, I haven't been taken to court or given any penalties for tickets before. I wasn't sure what was going on when she said 'Penalty Fare'. I had to look it all up when I got back.
     
  26. najaB

    najaB Veteran Member

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    I wasn't asking you to explain anything, the ill-considered nature of your actions was perfectly clear.
    --- old post above --- --- new post below ---
    It might be thousands, it might be zero. Until you know (a) if they are going to take you to court; and (b) what charges they are bringing against you it is impossible for anyone to give you anything more than a guess as to the size of any out of court settlement.
     
    Last edited: 10 Jun 2015
  27. MikeWh

    MikeWh Established Member Senior Fares Advisor

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    I've got to say that for someone who has admitted a mistake and not understood the implications of what was being offered, talking about £45K settlements is scaremongering of the highest degree. I think RPIs could often do a lot of good if they more clearly explained what the penalty fare is for and what refusing it might entail, before accepting the refusal.
     
  28. cari

    cari Member

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    I wasn't sure how much was on my card. I knew I could afford about a tenner but thought it might reject the payment. That's why I paid what I could there and then in cash. I explained this to her. She accepted the cash and wanted my name and address for this Penalty Fare.

    I think this has been so much hassle (I do realise the hassle is my fault) that I will just comply with whatever they want. From what the inspector said, I was going to be prosecuted and should wait for a summons. This is why I needed advice as I didn't know what to expect.

    So I will apologize for being stupid regarding the address, explain it was a mistake and I'm happy to pay the fine.
     
  29. MikeWh

    MikeWh Established Member Senior Fares Advisor

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    Oh come on. If we take the story at face value then I think we can fairly certainly say that it won't be thousands. In fact it's unlikely to be that many hundreds.

    I say again, if penalty fares were explained better, especially what might happen if you refuse, then a lot of the cases we see in here wouldn't be a problem.
     
  30. bb21

    bb21 Moderator Staff Member Moderator

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    That is of course your choice, but not "happy to pay the fine" as that would imply you are happy to let the case go to court. Something along the lines of asking them if they would be happy to "dispose of the matter by way of an out-of-court settlement covering their reasonable expenses in dealing with the matter" would do.

    Yes, I agree. Better communication could potentially reduce the amount of conflicts at the point of the incident I suspect.
     
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