Bye Law No 18(2) consequence query

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JasWig

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Hi,

I'd appreciate help with this.

I have been served a summons to a magistrates court ref alleged fare evasion.

The summons say that if I plead guilty in writing I pay a small fine.

There is no mention anywhere of a criminal record.

But if I plead guilty do I not by default get a criminal record as this is an offence?

Thanks!
 
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DaveNewcastle

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Simple question - simple answer:
No.
A Byelaws Offence successfully Prosecuted does not lead to a Criminal Record nor to an entry in the Police National Computer (PNC). However, Magistrates Courts deal with Railway ticketing irregularities along with other Criminal matters brought to them by the Police and CPS, so it does sometime arise that a PNC entry is made. (In the event that this does happen, they are notoriously difficult to remove or qualify once an entry is made).

But in most cases, no, a Byelaw Prosecution will not result in a Criminal Record.

Simple question - long answer:
I'm going to guess that you have not contested this forthcoming Prosecution because, either, you agree that you committed the offence and have no dispute with the evidence as presented as fact; and/or you have let too much time pass without taking action and have no inclination to contest the Claim. There are often steps which someone without any previous Offence and with a reasonable explanation (preferably with supporting Evidence) can make to mitigate or even challenge the Claim.

Without having any knowledge of all the necessary details, I cannot add any more comfort, but hope this helps.
 

JasWig

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Thanks Dave. Really appreciate it.

Actually I have tried to defend myself as follows.

First, briefly what happened. I looked up a train time online and it said the train was 6 mins late. Luckily I left it on screen and got a screen shot of this. When I got the station, the train was not late. But the ticket machine was playing up. kept freezing. I was late for an important meeting so jumped on intending to pay other end, where I knew there was a gateline and an excess fare window. I changed trains en route and thought briefly about getting a ticket there in the 5 minute connection window. But I was on my Blackberry and as I got halfway to the ticket office I turned back, to finish an urgent email. Then I got grabbed by a plain clothes inspector. Turned out there was a uniformed line of police officers by the exit. The plain clothes inspector had surmised I had seen the uniforms and turned back. When he served me my notice, I took all the contact details I needed to send in my version of events.

The next day I went to my local ticket office and asked about freezing screens. They said that it often happens, but not bad enough for them to file a fault report. If you keep trying eventually it works, but it can be slow. I did not get this as a witness statement, but if required imagine they would not change their story now.

I also sent by registered post an account of the incident plus the screen shot to First Capital Connect. After a month or two I received back simple notice that they intended to prosecute. Then yesterday the summons came through.

So I think it is clear that I have made an effort to respond, and if anything they have wilfully ignored my mitigation pleas. If you want to see my letter to FCC and the screenshot, I'd be happy to send by PM.

Many thanks for your help with this
 

DaveNewcastle

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What you have sent by way of mitigation (the urgent email, the blackberry etc.) is exactly what so many people do when attempting to reduce the impact of a suspected Offence . . . . you have confirmed your admission of the Offence in a sworn Statement.
You can hardly expect a Prosecutor to do anything else with such as Statement than to pass it on for Prosecution.

If thi is your first and only incident of a Railway ticketing failure and you have no other convictions, then it is possible for you to reach an agreement with the Company to make a settlement payment to cover their administrative costs (plus the missing ticket of course). You could make this attempt in writing, followed up by a phone call, though the tone of your letter would need to be more assuring that you have really learned what you must always do in future and the degree of your remorse - attempting to find further fault with the Company isn't going to help you one bit. The Company is not obliged to accept an offer.

If such an offer is not accepted, then you may let the matter proceed to Court or make a plea by post. It if goes to Court then the costs will have risen further and there is an absolutely negligible prospect of anything but the conviction being agreed. (It is commonly said that there is no Defence to as 'strict liability' Offence, which is what this S.18 Byelaw Offence is).

It would be assuring to learn if you really have learned that you must always have a ticket (when boarding from a station which has facilities to issue tickets) and that "urgent emails" etc only serve to increase the amount of time which YOU should leave to buy your ticket before your train departs.

I realise that this is probably not what you wanted to hear.
 

Zoe

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A Byelaws Offence successfully Prosecuted does not lead to a Criminal Record nor to an entry in the Police National Computer (PNC).
Is any information passed to the police at all though as a result of a byelaw prosecution? I'm thinking it could show on an enhanced CRB check as these can contain non-conviction information.
 
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DaveNewcastle

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The answer to this seems to lie not in what 'procedures should be followed' but in whatever back-room 'procedures are adopted'.
It appears to be a rather unpredictable outcome - if a Clerk's office just types in all of a day's cases without a second thought, then they'll all be recorded. If they notice that some are Byelaw matters with no Police or CPS involvement, then they might not.

I'd like to think that I am wrong and that there is more consistency than this, but that's not what I've found. Perhaps the outcome even varies in different parts of the Country, can anyone else provide other experiences?

- - - - EDIT - - -
I'll ask one of the Clerks next week if I can.
 
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yorkie

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I was late for an important meeting so jumped on intending to pay other end, where I knew there was a gateline and an excess fare window.
The rule is that you should pay at the first opportunity. Without knowing your journey itinerary, the interchange station(s) involved, the trains used, I cannot really comment on that aspect.

However I appreciate you may not wish to divulge that information, however if you want advice you may need to seek advice privately from someone with experience in this area.
I changed trains en route and thought briefly about getting a ticket there in the 5 minute connection window. But I was on my Blackberry and as I got halfway to the ticket office I turned back, to finish an urgent email. Then I got grabbed by a plain clothes inspector.
I am unable to determine if this turning back occurred at the interchange station or at your destination, but even if that is revealed it is difficult to picture it, let alone comment on it, without knowing much more information.

However what I can say is that there have been several threads posted here (you may be able to find them with a search) where passengers have described walking past an open ticket office at the end of their journey where this was an opportunity to pay, having failed to do so, and then attempting to turn back to the ticket office on apparently seeing that their exit was blocked.

If it can be established that the passenger was going to avoid payment of the journey if it was not for an inspection on exiting the station, then a prosecution is likely to succeed. In fact, if this is the case, you are lucky to only be prosecuted for a non-recordable Byelaw offence.

If you have not been in any previous trouble it is worth considering offering to settle the matter out of court.

Have you paid the fare due yet? It is not clear from your post if you have or not. If you have not, then I would give consideration to sending both the fare due, and a sum of money as compensation to settle the matter out of court. We have advised this course of action to several other members and a significant number of them have reported back to us that this was successful, however each case is unique.
 

trc666

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From what I make of the post it looks like the incident took place at the interchange station. He decided not to go to the ticket office and upon him turning back he was stopped by Revenue Protection.

JasWig - When you were questioned by the staff member were you also cautioned?

(The caution is the same as the one issued by police officers - 'You do not have to say anything but it may harm your defence if you do not mention when questioned something which you may later rely on in court. Anything you do say will be given in evidence.')
 

JasWig

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Many thanks for the various comments made.

Ref the query ref caution, I think one was made.

Given all the above, am I safe pleading guilty by reply by post and paying the fare + costs, or could this still leave me liable to a criminal record?

Thanks to Rail Forum users for their detailed advice.
 

bb21

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Given all the above, am I safe pleading guilty by reply by post and paying the fare + costs, or could this still leave me liable to a criminal record?
Unfortunately they are not obliged to accept an out-of-court settlement, so there is always a possibility that it might be rejected if they think the probability of them winning in court is high.

However if you have never been in trouble, they are more likely to accept an offer if it is considered reasonable to them.
 

matt1979

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A byelaw prosecution is very simple - The TOC would need to show that you did not have a ticket and that you had the opportunity to buy a ticket (which you did at either your origin station or at your interchange.) Any other arguments (i.e you were in a hurry, sending an email etc) would be completely irrelevant in legal terms, byelaw 18 is clear - you cannot board a train without a valid ticket, unless the TOC has failed in providing facilities (i.e the ticket office was closed, machine not working etc) anything else is irrelevant. You could (and should) have bought a ticket and caught a later train.

For a Regluation of the railways prosecution the TOC needs to prove all the above and that it was your "intention" to avoid your fare - which is where your mitaging factors would come in.

From what you say you satisfied the person that stopped you that you were not intending to avoid your fare, however you are still in breach of byelaw 18 for not having a ticket.

A byelaw prosecution would not give you a criminal record or show on a CRB check as it would be a civil conviction not criminal.

As has already been stated, if you have no history of any railway offences the TOC may be willing to negotiate a settlement out of court, if you have previous offences (i.e any penalty fares, UFN's etc) they will in all likelyhood prosecute regardless.
 
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Zoe

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Byelaw 18 prosecutions are prosecuted as a civil matter (hence prison is not a potential punishment)
Regulation of the railways act offences are prosectued as a criminal matter (prison is a potential punishment)
I'm not sure about that, breaching byelaw 18 is a strict liability offence where intent does not have to be proved and it is not recorded on the Police National Computer. However I have not seen anywhere stating that a breach of this byelaw will result in civil rather than criminal proceedings.
 
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RJ

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Thanks Dave. Really appreciate it.

Actually I have tried to defend myself as follows.

First, briefly what happened. I looked up a train time online and it said the train was 6 mins late. Luckily I left it on screen and got a screen shot of this. When I got the station, the train was not late. But the ticket machine was playing up. kept freezing. I was late for an important meeting so jumped on intending to pay other end, where I knew there was a gateline and an excess fare window. I changed trains en route and thought briefly about getting a ticket there in the 5 minute connection window. But I was on my Blackberry and as I got halfway to the ticket office I turned back, to finish an urgent email. Then I got grabbed by a plain clothes inspector. Turned out there was a uniformed line of police officers by the exit. The plain clothes inspector had surmised I had seen the uniforms and turned back. When he served me my notice, I took all the contact details I needed to send in my version of events.

The next day I went to my local ticket office and asked about freezing screens. They said that it often happens, but not bad enough for them to file a fault report. If you keep trying eventually it works, but it can be slow. I did not get this as a witness statement, but if required imagine they would not change their story now.

I also sent by registered post an account of the incident plus the screen shot to First Capital Connect. After a month or two I received back simple notice that they intended to prosecute. Then yesterday the summons came through.

So I think it is clear that I have made an effort to respond, and if anything they have wilfully ignored my mitigation pleas. If you want to see my letter to FCC and the screenshot, I'd be happy to send by PM.

Many thanks for your help with this
I had hope for you until I saw the bit I've highlighted in bold. The vast majority of threads asking for help over summons involve FCC and they are notorious for their extremely harsh, but justified, stance on enforcement. You have next to no chance of getting off without a prosecution!
 

tempests1

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Is any information passed to the police at all though as a result of a byelaw prosecution? I'm thinking it could show on an enhanced CRB check as these can contain non-conviction information.
Even on an enhanced CRB, it would not automatically record on PNC. CRB Operators would never disclose this information to an employer etc. It is classed as a non recordable offence.
 

island

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Welcome to the forum, matt1979.

Unfortunately I think you may be misinformed. The UK does not have such a thing as a "civil conviction", and a bye-law conviction is for a criminal offence. It is not recordable, and the reason one cannot be imprisoned for violating it is because the law doesn't provide for imprisonment as a penalty.
 

ralphchadkirk

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To add to islands post, there are vast numbers of criminal offences for which prison is not provided as a sentence.


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Zoe

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Even on an enhanced CRB, it would not automatically record on PNC. CRB Operators would never disclose this information to an employer etc. It is classed as a non recordable offence.
I am not referring to the conviction information held on the PNC which there wouldn't be any as this is a non-recordable offence. I am referring to the non-conviction information held by local police forces which can appear on an enhanced CRB check. This information is disclosed at the discrestion of chief constable.
Merseyrail said:
If found guilty of a Byelaw offence, it may appear on an enhanced CRB CHECK
--- old post above --- --- new post below ---
Unfortunately I think you may be misinformed. The UK does not have such a thing as a "civil conviction", and a bye-law conviction is for a criminal offence. It is not recordable, and the reason one cannot be imprisoned for violating it is because the law doesn't provide for imprisonment as a penalty.
That's my understanding also, there is some confusion over this though as the prosecution is not brought by the CPS.
 
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ralphchadkirk

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Even on an enhanced CRB, it would not automatically record on PNC. CRB Operators would never disclose this information to an employer etc. It is classed as a non recordable offence.
Unless your job is one of the exemptions to the Rehabilitation of Offenders Act which means any offence is fair game.


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DaveNewcastle

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There should be no doubt that Creation of a Byelaw creates a Criminal Offence.

There are differences between a Byelaw and a Criminal Law, one of these being that they are generally Prosecuted by a Local Authority or other Agency or Company, rather than by the Police or CPS on behalf of the State; another is that even the lower Courts have the jurisdiction to question a Byelaw (which only the Highest Courts have over a Criminal Law). But we should not assume that these a Civil matters, even when Prosecuted by a Company (such as a TOC).
 

Zoe

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Unless your job is one of the exemptions to the Rehabilitation of Offenders Act which means any offence is fair game.
But non-recordable offences should not be entered onto the PNC and so wouldn't appear on a standard CRB check. At the most the information would be disclosed on an enhanced CRB and that's at the discrestion of the chief constable.
 

ralphchadkirk

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But non-recordable offences should not be entered onto the PNC and so wouldn't appear on a standard CRB check. At the most the information would be disclosed on an enhanced CRB and that's at the discrestion of the chief constable.
I'm not sure how it works, but if you are applying for an exempted job then all criminal offences you have been prosecuted for must be revealed, and even any contact with the police if no conviction was recieved.


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Zoe

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I'm not sure how it works, but if you are applying for an exempted job then all criminal offences you have been prosecuted for must be revealed, and even any contact with the police if no conviction was recieved.
The question here is if a breach of a byelaw would be prosectured and convicted as a criminal matter? I believe it would but as discussed above, it seems the situation is not clear and some regard it as a civil not criminal matter.
 

ralphchadkirk

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That's what I thought but it was stated above the a byelaw is different to a criminal law.
I think what was meant was that a byelaw is delegated legislation whereas stuff from parliament is primary legislation. Since byelaws are not created by the Crown they are rarely prosecuted by the Crown.


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tempests1

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As has been seen in the previous few post's the area of PNC/CRB is somewhat complicated to say the least. Say if the person was involved in working with children and vunerable groups or handling money and the employer found out they had appeared in court for fare evasion I can't see that it would really infulence their decision? As Ralph has previously said it would be disclosed if exempt from the Rehabilitation of Offenders Act for roles that say involve national security like police officers/Security service but then they also look at the family & friends background, convictions etc. But then for example Met Police have employed people with convictions worse than fare evasion! such as shoplifting etc
 

robschopper

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In answer to the O/Ps question, if you are being prosecuted under the Railway Byelaws you will not get an entry on PNC when convicted. If however, you were being prosecuted under section 5(3)a of the Regulation of Railways Act 1889, you would. With regards to your information being disclosed from other databases for a CRB check, you would only be on the BTP database for a byelaw 18 offence if BTP officers dealt with the interview and prosecution. It sounds from your original post that it was the RPI who dealt with you, therefore there would be no record with BTP, in regard to that offence.
 

Zoe

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With regards to your information being disclosed from other databases for a CRB check, you would only be on the BTP database for a byelaw 18 offence if BTP officers dealt with the interview and prosecution.
The concern is though that the court could pass information of the conviction to a police force and above it was suggested that at times this does get done.
 
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