Advice Please- Husband Caught Using my Season Ticket

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hockeychick82

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I commute into London daily from Maidenhead with First Great Western. On Friday I was in Belfast and my husband used my season ticket to travel into London on his way to Paris. I didn't know he had my ticket until he mentioned that he had borrowed it. Anyway on his return journey back to Maidenhead today he was caught by an on board inspector. He has given a statement. This is the first time he has used my ticket as and both of us were naively unaware of the serious consequences of this. They said to him that they may contact me for a statement too, I guess this is to establish if I aided and abetted him in using my ticket and travelling with intent of not paying a fare. We are very worried about the consequences- especially the potential jail term. Apart from this we are both law abiding citizens with no criminal record. So I guess we will be looking at an offence under the RoRA and potentially fraud too? In terms of outcome we would both like to avoid imprisonment, best scenario obviously would be an out of court settlement. I'm after advice as to what to do next? I am getting legal advice too. How long will it take to get the notice of intended prosecution letter? Do we need to wait for that before we write to FGW to apologise or can we do that now? Any help/steer much appreciated.
 
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LowLevel

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It's technically possible but you won't be going to prison for a first offence so you can put that from your mind. It's still serious but you'll not be locked up.
 

najaB

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I'm going to go through your post - I'll have a few questions, correct me if I've misunderstood anything.

I commute into London daily from Maidenhead with First Great Western. On Friday I was in Belfast and my husband used my season ticket to travel into London on his way to Paris. I didn't know he had my ticket until he mentioned that he had borrowed it.
How long has the season ticket been valid for - e.g. if it's an annual ticket, what month is the renewal date? This is useful as gWr will want to know how many times it is possible that the ticket could have been misused.
Anyway on his return journey back to Maidenhead today he was caught by an on board inspector. He has given a statement.
Do you know what he said to the inspector?
This is the first time he has used my ticket as and both of us were naively unaware of the serious consequences of this.
Naive is right - there's a reason that the season ticket is issued in conjunction with a photocard. Does you husband have his own season ticket? Or did he try to use it without a photocard? Are you sure this is the only time he's used yours?
They said to him that they may contact me for a statement too, I guess this is to establish if I aided and abetted him in using my ticket and travelling with intent of not paying a fare.
Yes, they will be interested to know if you were 'in' on the misuse. Specifically if you knew that he was using it.
So I guess we will be looking at an offence under the RoRA and potentially fraud too?
If they decide to prosecute, then yes the RoRA is most likely legislation to be used. Fraud is a possibility, but unlikely.
In terms of outcome we would both like to avoid imprisonment, best scenario obviously would be an out of court settlement.
You don't need to worry, imprisonment is extremely unlikely for a first offence. And it is entirely possible that you can achieve an out of court settlement.
I'm after advice as to what to do next? I am getting legal advice too.
Step one - start saving. No matter the outcome it is likely to be expensive. If you are getting legal advice then a solicitor who has criminal law experience will be able to advise you, there's no need to go to a specialist railway law expert.
How long will it take to get the notice of intended prosecution letter? Do we need to wait for that before we write to FGW to apologise or can we do that now? Any help/steer much appreciated.
It can vary - anywhere from a couple of weeks through to a few months. I'd be surprised if you heard anything before the end of next week. It's best to wait for them to write to you as that way you'll know what they intend to do next.

Hope this helps.
 

DaveNewcastle

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I completely agree with the replies by najaB.

I will just add these brief points:-

There is hardly any prospect of you, the person to whom the Season ticket was issued, being charged with 'aiding and abetting' the primary offence if you hadn't done so and if there is nothing in your husband's Statement to suggest it.

There is little to be gained by contacting the Company now. The matter probably won't be written up into a case file yet, and when it does, it will have to be allocated to a procedure and if that is one of investigation then it will be allocated to an Investigator who will, as one of their first duties, either contact your husband again for further information, or, if your husband's statement was adequately incriminating, may simply proceed to a Prosecution.
If so, and there is nothing more to the incident than you've reported on here, then that won't be for Fraud. The RoRA is quite adequate. That is the time to seek any alternative resolutions.
But if you choose to (or are advised to) seek a resolution now, it won't harm your position as long as it is not a more incriminating statement than the one already given.
 
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hockeychick82

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Thanks all for your advice.

NajaB in response to your questions:
- It's an annual ticket and renewal is September 2016.
-He used it without the photocard and he doesn't have a season ticket as works locally.
- he definitely hasn't used it before.
- I think he tried to say it was his then realised he was in bother and came clean.

I have a good criminal lawyer I'm talking too today, I will let you know the advice I'm given.
 

broadgage

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Agree that a prison term is possible in theory, but unknown in practice except for large scale or repeated fraud.

GWR may well accept an offer to settle out of court.

As soon as you hear from them, write by return in a suitably contrite way, apologise and promise never to do it again.
Offer to pay the amount defrauded, probably the full single, non discounted fare for each journey made, and also to compensate GWR for their administrative costs incurred.
They are not obliged to accept your offer but often do.

If they wont accept your offer and decide to prosecute then a fine is likely, the exact amount varies a bit, but a few hundred pounds is common.
 

najaB

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NajaB in response to your questions:
- It's an annual ticket and renewal is September 2016.
-He used it without the photocard and he doesn't have a season ticket as works locally.
- he definitely hasn't used it before.
Damn, I was hoping that it was near the start of its validity - although it was the first time he used it, the TOC will likely take the position that he potentially could have used it any time you didn't. That means that any settlement is likely to be on the high side. :(

The fact that he doesn't have a photocard and his own season ticket is possibly a good thing though as it provides some evidence that this wasn't a well thought-out fraud, but rather an instance of bad judgement.
 

hockeychick82

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Thanks all. Spoke with a lawyer contact today, I have been advised to contact TOC to find out what there intentions are prior to a formal letter/prosecution notice being issued, the idea being it will be easier to influence before a decision is made. If we get nowhere with this then just have to wait to get the letter/ prosecution notice and then write back trying to negotiate an out of court settlement. I have been advised also that this is likely to be a slow process.
 

hockeychick82

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Just wondering when I will I be able to get my season ticket back? Once the TOC has decided what action to take? The train inspector advised my husband that I should keep all of my receipts and tickets while my ticket is confiscated.
 

najaB

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Just wondering when I will I be able to get my season ticket back? Once the TOC has decided what action to take? The train inspector advised my husband that I should keep all of my receipts and tickets while my ticket is confiscated.
That is correct. Remember that the ticket is the property of the train company so they need to be sure that you aren't complicit in its misuse before they return it to you.
 

Haywain

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Just wondering when I will I be able to get my season ticket back? Once the TOC has decided what action to take? The train inspector advised my husband that I should keep all of my receipts and tickets while my ticket is confiscated.
In the circumstances, you may as well buy a weekly, or even monthly season while you are waiting to see what happens. Keep the receipts as there is a possibility, but not really any more than that, that GWR might refund you when this matter has been concluded. In the meantime, buying daily tickets will just be making it even more expensive for you to get to work.

Edit--------------------------------

Should have said keep the tickets and receipts. You won't get anything back with just the receipts!
 
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father_jack

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In the circumstances, you may as well buy a weekly, or even monthly season while you are waiting to see what happens. Keep the receipts as there is a possibility, but not really any more than that, that GWR might refund you when this matter has been concluded. In the meantime, buying daily tickets will just be making it even more expensive for you to get to work.

I would think getting the ticket back is unlikely.
 
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bb21

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Assuming that there is nothing else that we have not been told, chances are that the season ticket will be returned. The only question is when.

AIUI replacement tickets purchased when the season ticket is confiscated due to misuse would not normally be refunded. The TOC can however apply discretion.
 

bb21

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We all make mistakes somewhere in our lives. The most important thing is to learn from these mistakes and move on. The TOC should not be holding onto your ticket for an unreasonably long time so assuming that you are fully cooperative, you should receive your season ticket back once they have completed their investigation.

If you get any suggestion that they will refund replacement tickets purchased in the interim, make sure that you have it in writing.
 

jon0844

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We all make mistakes somewhere in our lives. The most important thing is to learn from these mistakes and move on. The TOC should not be holding onto your ticket for an unreasonably long time so assuming that you are fully cooperative, you should receive your season ticket back once they have completed their investigation.

If you get any suggestion that they will refund replacement tickets purchased in the interim, make sure that you have it in writing.

Seems to me the best thing for a TOC to do is confiscate the ticket. If the husband was allowed (by the owner) to use it, then losing the ticket seems fair as a punishment.

If the husband used it without permission, then it would be reported as stolen before the ticket is given back. Another fair punishment, as the husband is now charged with theft.

Why should the TOC need to investigate the back story or need to care? Broken rules, ticket taken, thank you very much.
 

Antman

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I commute into London daily from Maidenhead with First Great Western. On Friday I was in Belfast and my husband used my season ticket to travel into London on his way to Paris. I didn't know he had my ticket until he mentioned that he had borrowed it. Anyway on his return journey back to Maidenhead today he was caught by an on board inspector. He has given a statement. This is the first time he has used my ticket as and both of us were naively unaware of the serious consequences of this. They said to him that they may contact me for a statement too, I guess this is to establish if I aided and abetted him in using my ticket and travelling with intent of not paying a fare. We are very worried about the consequences- especially the potential jail term. Apart from this we are both law abiding citizens with no criminal record. So I guess we will be looking at an offence under the RoRA and potentially fraud too? In terms of outcome we would both like to avoid imprisonment, best scenario obviously would be an out of court settlement. I'm after advice as to what to do next? I am getting legal advice too. How long will it take to get the notice of intended prosecution letter? Do we need to wait for that before we write to FGW to apologise or can we do that now? Any help/steer much appreciated.

Firstly, nobody is going to prison over this. If you make it clear that your husband used it without your permission, effectively stole it, then no blame can be attached to you. Your husband must have known that he shouldn't be using it and he will have to face the consequences. I can't see what justification the TOC have for not returning your ticket, I can only suggest that your lawyer contacts them and demands reimbursement for any additional fares you've had to pay as a result.
 

najaB

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Seems to me the best thing for a TOC to do is confiscate the ticket. If the husband was allowed (by the owner) to use it, then losing the ticket seems fair as a punishment.
I've highlighted the key word in your statement - that is exactly what gWr will be trying to find out before deciding what their next step will be.
If the husband used it without permission, then it would be reported as stolen before the ticket is given back. Another fair punishment, as the husband is now charged with theft.
Given that based on the OP's story the first that she knew about the ticket being misused was when it was withdrawn by gWr exactly when was her opportunity to report it as stolen?

I'm sorry, but this is not helpful to the OP.

I can't see what justification the TOC have for not returning your ticket, I can only suggest that your lawyer contacts them and demands reimbursement for any additional fares you've had to pay as a result.
The justification is that the ticket is the property of the TOC. Condition 20 of the NRCoC allows the TOC to withdraw the ticket "If you do not comply in a material way with any Condition that applies to the use of a ticket"

As I noted above gWr will want to ensure that the OP wasn't complicit in the misuse before returning it. There is no obligation to refund tickets bought in the meantime.
 
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DaveNewcastle

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I can't see what justification the TOC have for not returning your ticket, . . . .
There is a justification both in Statute and in Common Law for an investigation which is likely to lead to a Prosecution to include the retention of evidence. Conditions are attached which includes the neccessity of retention, the protection of the evidence, the production of the evidence (for trial, or for defence investigation), etc., but it is a right, and it has justifiable reasons.
Many of these powers are granted expressly to the police, but the Private Prosecutor will have the benefit of this justification while preparing a Prosecution for the Magistrates Courts.
 

Antman

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There is a justification both in Statute and in Common Law for an investigation which is likely to lead to a Prosecution to include the retention of evidence. Conditions are attached which includes the neccessity of retention, the protection of the evidence, the production of the evidence (for trial, or for defence investigation), etc., but it is a right, and it has justifiable reasons.
Many of these powers are granted expressly to the police, but the Private Prosecutor will have the benefit of this justification while preparing a Prosecution for the Magistrates Courts.

I understand what you're saying but this lady has been a victim of theft so surely the TOC should give her a replacement ticket, her relationship with the alleged thief is somewhat irrelevant surely?
 

bb21

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I understand what you're saying but this lady has been a victim of theft so surely the TOC should give her a replacement ticket, her relationship with the alleged thief is somewhat irrelevant surely?

... on the condition that this is reported as theft to the police and a crime reference number obtained.

I wonder what the police would think since the husband's actions do not appear to fit the definition for theft, ie. a requirement for "intention of permanently depriving".
 

DaveNewcastle

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honeychick82, I'm sorry that some of the advice on here is likely to mislead you:
. . . this lady has been a victim of theft so surely the TOC should give her a replacement ticket, her relationship with the alleged thief is somewhat irrelevant surely?
not so. . . .
I didn't know he had my ticket until he mentioned that he had borrowed it.
Not theft.
The justification is that the ticket is the property of the TOC. Condition 20 of the NRCoC allows the TOC to withdraw the ticket "If you do not comply in a material way with any Condition that applies to the use of a ticket"
This is correct.
 

Antman

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... on the condition that this is reported as theft to the police and a crime reference number obtained.

I wonder what the police would think since the husband's actions do not appear to fit the definition for theft, ie. a requirement for "intention of permanently depriving".

I understand your point but in principal it's like husband taking wifes car without her consent and committing offences, surely it would still be TWOC?
 

island

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TWOC applies specifically to motor vehicles and was introduced because of difficulty prosecuting theft and specifically proving the intent to permanently deprive. There is no analogous provision for taking a railway ticket with the intent to give it back.

I think any discussions of theft and the OP reporting her husband for some offence are irrelevant and off-topic.
 

Antman

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TWOC applies specifically to motor vehicles and was introduced because of difficulty prosecuting theft and specifically proving the intent to permanently deprive. There is no analogous provision for taking a railway ticket with the intent to give it back.

I think any discussions of theft and the OP reporting her husband for some offence are irrelevant and off-topic.

Not really, if the husband took the ticket without the OP's knowledge or consent surely that exonerates her of any blame?
 

najaB

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Not really, if the husband took the ticket without the OP's knowledge or consent surely that exonerates her of any blame?
As per post #10 - fGw need to satisfy themselves that the ticket was used without the OP's knowledge, then they will more than likely return it.
 

swj99

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they may contact me for a statement too, I guess this is to establish if I aided and abetted him in using my ticket and travelling with intent of not paying a fare.
If your ticket was 'borrowed' without your knowledge or consent, then you cannot have aided or abetted him in it's use.

The train inspector advised my husband that I should keep all of my receipts and tickets while my ticket is confiscated.
Sensible advice. This will make it easier for you to claim back the fares you have to pay in the absence of the season ticket you have already paid for.

The justification is that the ticket is the property of the TOC. Condition 20 of the NRCoC allows the TOC to withdraw the ticket "If you do not comply in a material way with any Condition that applies to the use of a ticket"

As I noted above gWr will want to ensure that the OP wasn't complicit in the misuse before returning it. There is no obligation to refund tickets bought in the meantime.
Out of interest, are you suggesting the OP may have failed to comply in a material way with any condition that applies to the use of a ticket ?

... on the condition that this is reported as theft to the police and a crime reference number obtained........
On the basis that the TOC is already investigating the matter, I think it would be fair to say events have overtaken any necessity which may have previously existed to report the situation to the police.
 
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najaB

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Out of interest, are you suggesting the OP may have failed to comply in a material way with any condition that applies to the use of a ticket ?
That is not for me to suggest one way or the other. It is up to fGw to investigate and determine for themselves.
 

Skimpot flyer

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I commute into London daily from Maidenhead with First Great Western. On Friday I was in Belfast and my husband used my season ticket to travel into London on his way to Paris. I didn't know he had my ticket until he mentioned that he had borrowed it. Anyway on his return journey back to Maidenhead today he was caught by an on board inspector. He has given a statement. This is the first time he has used my ticket as and both of us were naively unaware of the serious consequences of this. They said to him that they may contact me for a statement too, I guess this is to establish if I aided and abetted him in using my ticket and travelling with intent of not paying a fare. We are very worried about the consequences- especially the potential jail term. Apart from this we are both law abiding citizens with no criminal record. So I guess we will be looking at an offence under the RoRA and potentially fraud too? In terms of outcome we would both like to avoid imprisonment, best scenario obviously would be an out of court settlement. I'm after advice as to what to do next? I am getting legal advice too. How long will it take to get the notice of intended prosecution letter? Do we need to wait for that before we write to FGW to apologise or can we do that now? Any help/steer much appreciated.
I'm surprised no-one else has picked up on the areas highlighted above, but

a) OP's husband travelled to London Friday 18th March
b) OP's husband travelled back to Maidenhead Sunday 20th March
c) At some point, OP was made aware by her husband, that he had borrowed her season ticket

Surely, if c) occurred before the journey b) was undertaken - perhaps when husband and wife called / texted one another on Saturday - then the TOC would be far more likely to prosecute ? Because IF that is what happened, the owner of the season ticket should have taken steps to advise her husband to buy a ticket for his journey from London to Maidenhead. Not persuading him to do so could be construed as her being complicit in the misuse of her season ticket, as she could then not use the defence that she did not know it was about to be misused (for the return journey) :?
 
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