Conviction but I didn't know I was being prosecuted?

Discussion in 'Disputes & Prosecutions' started by km11, 30 Aug 2019.

  1. Fawkes Cat

    Fawkes Cat Member

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    Can I respectfully suggest that this is not the best attitude to take? Northern could quite reasonably point out that it wasn't them who failed to buy a ticket. And we don't yet know if they failed to communicate to your proper address or if somehow you failed to receive it.

    If you are successful in getting the conviction struck out, you will want Northern to co-operate with you in agreeing a more favourable settlement. So working on the basis that everything is their fault is not going to encourage them to want to help you.

    Concentrate on what has happened, rather than why, and this may work in your favour.
     
  2. km11

    km11 Member

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    Hello,

    Just wanted to update you all,I contacted Northern with my version of events and explained my situation to them. This is what they sent.

    'Good afternoon


    I have obtained your original file and can confirm that you were prosecuted in Bolton Magistrates Court on the 18 June 2018 and the case was proved in your absence.


    Looking at the report which was submitted you provided an address of 22 X Avenue on the 12 January 2018. Correspondence was returned as not known at this address and an alternative address of 30 X Avenue was then used and letters sent to this address. You have now informed us that you reside at 75 X Avenue.


    As it would appear that you have provided a false address we are unable to re-open this matter but would suggest that you contact Bolton Magistrates direct to see if they will allow you to make a Statutory Declaration, they can be contacted on X. If this is permitted we would then consider an opportunity to let you resolve the matter alternatively.'

    Now first of all, the guard took my details from my driving license down on the day, and I've replied with proof of my ID.So I don't get why I'm being accused of providing a false address.
    Secondly, do I need a case number to provide to the magistrates court to make a SD? and as soon as I make it, can I instantly go to Northern to appeal, or do I need to wait a certain number of days till they've received it?
     
  3. 30907

    30907 Established Member

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    Which address did your driving licence at the time of the incident?
     
  4. MotCO

    MotCO Member

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    Did you sign the inspector's report? If so, were you agreeing to the address he'd written down? Could that could be construed as providing a false addres?
     
  5. WesternLancer

    WesternLancer Member

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    or was the Inspectors handwriting so bad that the Prosecution team could not read it?

    re-reading the OP's earlier posts they certainly expected to hear from Northern, so presumably felt that the ID provided with address was accurate (IIRC driving licences with out of date or wrong info on them are also some sort of traffic offence....but that's another matter!)
     
  6. WesternLancer

    WesternLancer Member

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    are you able to ask for a copy of the record the Gaurd took, so you can read the address on it for yourself and compare it with the ID you gave back in Jan 2018? Might be worth a try since that record is the whole basis of the evidence against you, surely.
     
  7. Haywain

    Haywain Established Member

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    Set aside your apparent anger at the comment on the false address and concentrate on the positive, which is that Northern have indicated that they will settle the matter if it reopened. So get your SD in and get back on to Northern with just that result in mind.
     
  8. cuccir

    cuccir Established Member

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    I agree with this - this is good news for you. You could spend forever wondering about how Northern got the wrong address for you and attempting to apportion blame. Maybe it was written down wrong and you missed it when signing the report; maybe it was copied wrong from the report onto digital records. The fact is that it happened.

    You need to go to court and make the statutory declaration as soon as possible and no later than Friday 20th September as it must be made within 21 days of you discovering the conviction. I don't think you require a case number as they will have a record based on your name and date of birth. You may be asked to plea guilty or not guilty at that moment by the court - I would enter a not guilty plea and then immediately send a pre-written letter to Northern detailing:

    (a) that in response to your most recent correspondence (the email/letter you quote above) you have filed a statutory declaration and now wish to resolve the matter
    (b) your regret in forgetting to buy a ticket on the day
    (c) your uncertainty as to how the error was made in your address an your confirmation that any error you made here was unintentional
    (d) your desire to resolve the matter by paying for the fare due and any costs incurred in investigating the matter
     
  9. Haywain

    Haywain Established Member

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    Not necessarily to court, it can also be done at a solicitors and give a bit more time as you are then not required to enter a plea at the same time. This may be a better option, although I imagine there is some cost at a solicitors.
     
  10. km11

    km11 Member

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    75 X AVENUE. I have never lived at 22 or 30 X AVENUE at all.

    No I don't think I did

    Thanks for this, I contacted the magistrates court and made a request for statutory declaration. However they told me over the phone that they do not have appointments till November, which sucks. Do I have to wait till then to contact Northern or could I send a letter now and show the above points and hope that it can be settled before then.

    Also I wanted to ask, should the conviction be dropped via an out of court settlement, do I need to request a new DBS check, or will the certificate be updated electronically to not show it?
     
    Last edited by a moderator: 12 Sep 2019 at 16:25
  11. Hadders

    Hadders Established Member

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    I would visit a solicitors office and make a statutory declaration. Whatever you do, do not delay it until November.
     
  12. WesternLancer

    WesternLancer Member

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    See if your student union advice service operates a system where you can access a solicitor for basic help on this via them, at potentially reduced or free rate, so you can follow up on Hadders' advice.
     
  13. Haywain

    Haywain Established Member

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    A statutory declaration should be able to be done at pretty much any high street solicitors, and at a low fixed fee - around £5 to £10.
     
  14. some bloke

    some bloke Member

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    A statutory declaration can be made at any magistrates' court - see the new form linked to above
    http://www.justice.gov.uk/courts/procedure-rules/criminal/forms#Anchor6
    (under Part 24)
    - though for the reason already given you may prefer to go to a solicitor.

    When you write to Northern you could include a brief factual statement relevant to the suggestion that you gave them a false address, if appropriate along the lines of:
    "I am certain that the only information I supplied about an address was in showing my driving licence to the staff member so that they could copy it. It has always read "75...Avenue"."
    You may have to adjust the statement if you aren't absolutely sure whether you signed something which contained a wrong address.

    On getting records deleted from the Police National Computer:
    https://www.acro.police.uk/acro_std.aspx?id=701

    Stat Dec instructions:

    stat dec form.png
     
    Last edited: 12 Sep 2019 at 14:39
  15. Puffing Devil

    Puffing Devil Established Member

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    Do not go to court to make your Statutory Declaration!

    Reason: Courts are now instructed to reopen the case on the day you make the declaration. They will even try to make progress based on the file and without the NR prosecutor and ask for a plea on the day; you could find yourself sentenced on the day.

    I would always advise using a Solicitor to make the declaration and then post it SignedFor to the court, calling a day or two later to make sure they have it.

    This gives you time to prepare for court and/or negotiate with the TOC.
     
  16. Haywain

    Haywain Established Member

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    Or the OP could, as previously suggested, forget about this and concentrate on achieving the settlement that the TOC have already indicated they are open to.
     
  17. some bloke

    some bloke Member

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    The previous suggestions were that he set aside his anger and concentrate on achieving a settlement, and that he say he's not certain about how the address came to be wrong. I think making a polite and brief statement that the staff member copied the address would be a sensible part of the response. It's consistent with the first suggestion; I'd suggest it's a more suitably robust defence than the second, and gives a better impression.

    The statement above, "Northern have indicated that they will settle the matter", might be read over-optimistically. What Northern said is only that they'd consider an opportunity.

    Hopefully they won't have a lot of motivation to go to court again, but if it was me I would make clear that they wouldn't get away easily with suggesting in court that I'd given a fake address. The idea is to encourage them to give either a settlement or a better one.

    There's a question I'm still not sure about. If they think they can't prove intent, how feasible or difficult would it be for them to start a byelaw prosecution? If that would be viewed as abuse of process, or otherwise impractical, then if they have no good evidence of intent, maybe they're in a weak position to ask for a settlement.
     
  18. Haywain

    Haywain Established Member

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    Who are you quoting here? It isn't me. I believe the OP wishes to settle the matter and arguing, no matter how politely, over the details is not something I believe will help.
     
  19. some bloke

    some bloke Member

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    I was quoting this:
    The point of responding to their allegation "it would appear that you have provided a false address" is not to escalate a disagreement but to end it.
     
  20. WesternLancer

    WesternLancer Member

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    There is a point of principle about the false address accusation, since no doubt people do give them in the hope they won't then get caught and fined. Given the thread is entitled 'didn't know I was being prosecuted' etc we can assume the OP never intentionally gave a false address, so there is error or cock up at work, yet the OP is being accused of giving a false address.

    If that was me I'd want to get to the bottom of that and get such an unfair accusation withdrawn if it was wrong. So this is of value to pursue IMHO, as well as settle the ticket issue which the OP seems to admit they were guilty of.
     
  21. Enthusiast

    Enthusiast Member

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    Nothing will get resolved until an SD is undertaken. Your conviction stands until then and Northern have no need to do anything. As an aside, I'm surprised somebody hasn't traced you by now to enforce the fines and costs, but that's not important right now.

    As advised, perform your SD in time at a local solicitors. The court will accept your SD outside 21 days if it was only late because they could not accommodate you. But the advantage of doing it elsewhere has been explained. Then, assuming you don't intend contesting the matter you should contact Northern to let them know you have had the conviction set aside and ask them what their plans are.
     
  22. some bloke

    some bloke Member

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    If the process began with a single justice procedure notice, you need to respond to it - including a plea - at the same time as you "serve" the declaration at the original court. Someone who finds out about a minor conviction via a DBS check might need to ask the court whether their case began with a summons or an SJPN.
    The point about "any magistrates' court" is that you can make the declaration at a different court.

    In fact if you do that, then send the form to the original court as the form specifies, it's not obvious to me why you wouldn't have one advantage that's the same as if you go to a solicitor - if the process began with a summons, you can avoid making a plea at the same time as the declaration and so get more time to communicate with the company.

    You might expect less time waiting for an appointment and less waiting around if you go to a solicitor.

    Or perhaps,

    "Don't make the declaration at the court that convicted you
    (unless you are keen for the possibility that the court will deal with the whole case quickly and perhaps not thoroughly)".
     
    Last edited: 14 Sep 2019 at 10:13
  23. Puffing Devil

    Puffing Devil Established Member

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    Incorrect. As we have said before, the Statutory Declaration has no value until you are convicted in your absence.

    There is no difference between a conviction arising out of a SJPN or a summons. A conviction is a conviction, the summons is irrelevant.

    Incorrect. We have electronic files now. Any court can deal with the offence.

    Question: Do you have any formal legal experience in the Magistrate's court?
     
  24. some bloke

    some bloke Member

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    That is a different case. @km11 was convicted in his absence.
    If it was an SJPN, @km11 has to give notice concerning a plea at the same time as serving the declaration. There is an image of the form above:
    This is reflected in the rules, at 24.17 (2)(b). There's a link to the rules in the other thread:
    http://www.justice.gov.uk/courts/procedure-rules/criminal/rulesmenu-2015

    sjp 2 b.png
    The form tells defendants to send/deliver it to the original court. Perhaps the form, which is presented as current by the official website, is likely to mislead.
     
    Last edited: 15 Sep 2019 at 10:16
  25. Puffing Devil

    Puffing Devil Established Member

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    Apologies, you've been posting on two threads. I confused this with the other where you suggested a Statutory Declaration should be submitted before the defendant knew that that were convicted.

    Here we were discussing DBS checks, not the service of a Statutory Declaration. The need to submit a plea is to restart the SJPN process again and place the defendant back at the start of the process as if they had just received the SJPN. These are the same options as they have with a SJPN.

    I notice you've edited your response since you first posted this morning where you answered no to having any practical experience of the courts. It's very easy now to be able to research many items that were once buried in print-only format and serve them up. This forum is about providing advice and without practical experience it's very easy to provide information while being factually correct on the surface, it misses some of the practicalities that only hands-on experience in the criminal justice system can give you, such as making your SD at a Solicitors office to avoid an instant, and unexpected, reopening of a trial at court.

    I would urge caution for anyone posting. Think - Is this something that I know and have experience of, or is it something I have researched and have an opinion on. If it's only an opinion, from research rather than experience, you need to make it clear to the OP.
     
  26. some bloke

    some bloke Member

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    It's been suggested that if @km11 makes a declaration in front of a solicitor then sends the form to the court, this avoids having to make a plea at the same time and also avoids the possibility of a court instantly making progress on the case.

    Aren't the following true?

    He may need to first find out from the court how the case began.

    The rules require him to include with the declaration a notice of a plea, if the case began with a single justice procedure notice. (Where the plea is guilty and the defendant agrees that the case will be dealt with by a single justice, other information is required and more may be appropriate to include.)

    The rules do not require a plea with the declaration if the case began with a summons.
     
    Last edited: 15 Sep 2019 at 18:07
  27. km11

    km11 Member

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    Ok I have been a bit confused with the previous messages, but I'm in the process of making a SD at the solicitors. Once I send it off, can I then contact Northern to ask for a settlement?
     
  28. some bloke

    some bloke Member

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    @km11, please look at point 5 of "How to use this form".

    My advice is not to send the form yet (while making sure you meet the deadline) unless you know your case began with a summons.

    If you don't know whether your case began with a summons or a single justice procedure notice, ask the court. Point 5 doesn't say "if you are unsure, send the form without a plea".
    If it began with a summons, send the form.
    If it was an SJPN, you need to respond to it including a notice concerning a plea at the same time as sending the declaration.
     
    Last edited: 16 Sep 2019 at 10:40
  29. km11

    km11 Member

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    The deadline is this Friday, I need to send something off by Wednesday.
     
  30. Puffing Devil

    Puffing Devil Established Member

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    Send it off ASAP. You can include a letter to the effect of:

    "I am unaware if this conviction resulted from a Summons, Postal Requisition or a Single Justice Procedure Notice. In all cases, I wish to appear in court to deliver my not guilty plea in person"
    You can change your plea to guilty, if necessary before you appear in court. You should still be entitled to the full discount on your sentence. NB - this only applies if you do not reach an agreement with the TOC.

    Make sure you copy the SD and your letter, send the letter SignedFor. Check with the court a couple of days later that they have it and will be actioning it.
     

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