Dishonest regarding Station of origin after losing a ticket.

Discussion in 'Disputes & Prosecutions' started by Neathy, 9 Jun 2019.

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  1. Neathy

    Neathy Member

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    Hello all,


    I was hoping that I would be able to get some advice on what to expect with regards to the following scenario;


    I was travelling from Neath to Cardiff Central on a First Great Western train on a single day ticket, during my journey I somehow lost my ticket on the train. Upon arriving in Cardiff, I was directed to purchase a new ticket where I made a huge error of judgement and was dishonest regarding my station of origin when attempting to purchase a new ticket. I should also mention that there was a large concert in the stadium on the day of my travel.


    I was then interviewed under caution once it was established, I did not get on in Bridgend as I stupidly claimed. I was fully cooperative and remorseful with the officer, he said I should expect a letter within 3 weeks detailing the next steps. Another officer commented that I should expect an offer of Out of court settlement and to pay within 21 days.


    I'm worried that the case will be dealt with by Transport for Wales who prosecute in cases of false origin claims rather than GWR who are far more lenient in allowing an out of curt payment in these cases. Is the case handled on the train operator or the station management company?


    Is a possibility of Out of Court settlement even with TfW given I paid for a ticket in full? I will be able to prove via my bank statement that I did purchase the ticket and that it was purchased in Neath station on the day in question. I’m really scared that I could end up with a criminal record for a moment of sheer stupidity which could severely impact my job prospects amongst other things. How serious are criminal records of this nature looked upon by employers and the like?



    Any advice on this would really be appreciated as I’m feeling really anxious over the whole scenario and also ashamed that I made such a grave error of judgment.


    Many Thanks
     
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  3. Bletchleyite

    Bletchleyite Veteran Member

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    You have to show a valid ticket when requested. If you lost it, this puts you in exactly the same position as if you never had one in the first place.
     
  4. tiptoptaff

    tiptoptaff Established Member

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    Shortfaring is a huge problem in South Wales, and ATW used to come down hard on it. Especially on event days, where people used to assume they could get a free/cheap journey due to the large crowds. With TfW, I'm unsure if their policy is the same, but the staff are so it wouldn't be unreasonable to assume it'll continue. If they agree to settle, it'll be in the region of low 3figures. However, they semi-regularly make examples of short-faring and other forms of fare evasion on event days and do a mass prosecution. They tend to see short-faring as a RORA offence, as it's deliberately attempting to avoid paying the correct fare.

    Bank statement will simply show you paid an amount for something, not that what you bought was a valid ticket.

    For now, wait for the letter. See what it says. TIL can be hard to deal with, but it's not unknown for them to settle.

    But, be prepared to go to court, if you're caught up in one of their stings.
     
  5. Neathy

    Neathy Member

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    That’s fair and I fully understand that by not having a ticket, I was hoping that by being able to show that I had previously purchased the ticket and therefore had no initial intention of avoiding the fare there could be room for some more sympathy on behalf of the prosecuting party, be that GWR or TfW. Could I not use a bank statement with a time and location of card use in conjunction with some cctv footage or the like to show that I did indeed purchase a ticket originally.


    I have no issue with settling for an amount as I have committed an offence, is it likely to be TfW that prosecute me or GWR as it was a GWR train that I travelled on?


    Seriously concerned that despite being told by the officers that I will have a admin fee to pay I will end up in court with a criminal record putting any potential jobs and my current one in jeopardy.
     
  6. Bletchleyite

    Bletchleyite Veteran Member

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    If you lied about your origin when purchasing a replacement, whether you previously held one would be of no relevance whatsoever. It's that lie that's going to get you prosecuted unless you can convince them to settle for a hefty, probably three figure, sum.

    Perhaps you should have considered your career before lying to save a couple of quid?

    The prosecution is generally done by the TOC who caught you.
     
  7. tiptoptaff

    tiptoptaff Established Member

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    This.

    You have short-fared. You have lied about your origin in order to obtain a cheaper ticket. You say you lost your original, why should TfW believe you? You've already lied to them about this. You could quite easily have given that ticket to someone else. Showing them a bank statement doesn't prove anything at all, I'm afraid.
     
  8. tiptoptaff

    tiptoptaff Established Member

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    It'll be TfW that will prosecute as you were caught at Cardiff Central, presumably by staff wearing hi-viz vests with TIL on them?
     
  9. Fare-Cop

    Fare-Cop Member

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    Yes, a letter asking for your version of events will be sent to you, it will give you a chance to apologise and perhaps for you to suggest a way forward without Court action, but TfW are very hard on deliberate short-faring. The policy is the same as their predecessor ATW.

    Once you have replied you can expect a Notice of Intended Prosecution in a scenario such as this, but that doesn't mean you should not see if they will settle.

    When you write in reply don't blame others, don't look for excuses, don't take any notice of all those who will try to convince you that 'you can get away with it' because some trivia or other doesn't match their personal interpretation of what should or shouldn't happen on railways. You knew where you got on, you knew that when you were asked to pay for a ticket you were not telling the truth when you claimed to have boarded at Bridgend, so continue to be truthful and do just as you have so far here.

    Honesty now will likely get you the best result you can hope for and as tiptoptaff said, because you couldn't produce a ticket and offered short will be hard to defend if it were to go to Court.

    Good luck
     
    Last edited: 9 Jun 2019
  10. Neathy

    Neathy Member

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    Understood, it was a serious error of judgment on my part as I was panicking. Im thinking im going to have to write in response to the incoming letter outlining how sorry I am and pray for a settlement offer. Yes it was staff in hi vis that I spoke to, they seemed to be under the impression that i would be sent an admin fee request to be paid within 21 days although im starting to feel that outcome isnt likely.
     
  11. tiptoptaff

    tiptoptaff Established Member

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    In some ways, you'd have been dealt with less severely if you'd had no ticket at all, rather than short-faring. Such is the attitude towards it, and the stance that they take.

    And by that I mean, you'd almost certainly be getting a settlement offer relating to a byelaw offence.

    Now, they may well prosecute short-fares en-masse, to deter it for upcoming events later in the year
     
  12. ForTheLoveOf

    ForTheLoveOf Established Member

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    Why did you do this? Was it because you intended to avoid paying the full fare from Neath again, or was there any element of mistake or confusion about it? Did you not explain that you had lost your ticket and had evidence that you had paid your fare?

    Not surprising then that they had Revenue Protection Inspectors out in full force; this is a very common occurrence in the south Wales area!

    They are correct that it is likely you will receive, at some point within the next few weeks or months, a letter stating that someone giving your name and address was stopped without a ticket at Cardiff on the date in question, and asking for your version of events so they can determine whether or not to prosecute the matter.

    It's not normally the case that you'll receive an offer of out of Court settlement as the first letter when interacting with TfW. Either way, there is no entitlement to any of this, and if they wanted, TfW could go straight to prosecution without warning, so it's in that context that I think all this should be viewed.

    Train company prosecutions are private prosecutions just like any other, and accordingly one train company is perfectly entitled to deal with an irregularity occurring on another company's services. If you were stopped at Cardiff Central then it's likely, even if not 100% certain, that you were stopped by TfW or their agents Transport Investigations Limited (TIL).

    Anything is possible in theory, and we have certainly heard of out of Court settlements happening with TfW in a wide variety of circumstances. However, as we are neither in possession of the evidence TfW have, nor are we the person deciding their actions in your case, we can't guarantee anything.

    From what you have described, since you actually paid your fare and have evidence of this, you are not guilty of the more serious offence of travelling without previously having paid your fare, with intent to avoid payment thereof (S5(3)(a) RoRA). You are, instead, guilty of failing to hand over a valid ticket when asked, which is an offence under Railway Byelaw 18(2). This is a much less serious offence, and there is debate within the forum as to whether it creates a criminal record that would be seen on DBS checks, and whether it would need to be disclosed at all. And in any case, it would certainly be 'spent', and thus irrelevant for almost all purposes, after 1 year.

    It depends entirely on the employer, and particularly on the industry and role within which you work. If you work in a normal "office" job then most employers wouldn't care much for an explainable and not overly serious offence such as that in question here. However, a limited number of employers and industries will have a no-tolerance policy to any convictions. What the case is for your company and industry will vary - you should be able to look up your HR policy or ask your union confidentially (if you have one).

    Whilst it's obviously easy to say sitting behind the keyboard not in your predicament, there is nothing more you can do about past events now. All you can do is determine how you respond when or if you receive correspondence about this incident. Hopefully, with our advice and assistance, you'll be able to get an agreeable outcome. But even if you are prosecuted and convicted and your employer cannot tolerate that, it is not the end of the world, and you should be able to find employment in a great many other industries and companies, even with a relatively minor offence such as this behind you. So it's hardly worth spending your time worrying about what happened - best to keep it out of your mind until you hear more about it!
     
  13. tiptoptaff

    tiptoptaff Established Member

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    The OP cannot provide evidence they paid a part fare. Only that some money was paid to TfW at Neath - if it was paid at all.

    Short-faring will be treated as an RORA offence - intent to avoid paying the correct fare. I'm afraid, saying anything else is incorrect and unhelpful.
     
  14. Neathy

    Neathy Member

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    Why did you do this? Was it because you intended to avoid paying the full fare from Neath again, or was there any element of mistake or confusion about it? Did you not explain that you had lost your ticket and had evidence that you had paid your fare?


    I was deliberate on my part in trying to avoid re paying the fare, it was a truly stupid decision that I made in a split second.



    It depends entirely on the employer, and particularly on the industry and role within which you work. If you work in a normal "office" job then most employers wouldn't care much for an explainable and not overly serious offence such as that in question here. However, a limited number of employers and industries will have a no-tolerance policy to any convictions. What the case is for your company and industry will vary - you should be able to look up your HR policy or ask your union confidentially (if you have one).


    My currently employment is as a Lab technician in a scientific field.
     
  15. Bletchleyite

    Bletchleyite Veteran Member

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    Did it require a DBS check?
     
  16. ForTheLoveOf

    ForTheLoveOf Established Member

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    I wonder if you've really considered that statement carefully. One cannot, for instance, be found guilty of an offence under S5(3)(a) of RoRA if one has paid their fare, and that's a very different position indeed.

    When I buy tickets at TVMs and ticket offices by card, they state the amount of the transaction and the location of the purchase (if not initially, then banks etc. will certainly tell you if you ask).

    Right, so you're saying that a bank statement that shows that the OP paid the exact amount of the fare from Neath to Cardiff, at a ticket office or TVM located in Neath, "doesn't prove anything at all", when the OP was then accosted at Cardiff having lost their ticket? There can be no doubt that the incorrect statement about having boarded at Bridgend will not be helpful here, but it is vitally important to remember the offences under which the OP might be prosecuted and how the evidence would make them guilty or not guilty or them. A bank statement as stated above would, in my mind, categorically make the OP found not guilty for a RoRA S5(3)(a) prosecution.
     
  17. Neathy

    Neathy Member

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    Not as far as I am aware, no.
     
  18. Bletchleyite

    Bletchleyite Veteran Member

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    Probably not a massive issue for work purposes then, though your contract may require you to declare it.
     
  19. Bletchleyite

    Bletchleyite Veteran Member

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    How does it prove that they did not purchase a ticket for someone else? Or one for another day?
     
  20. ForTheLoveOf

    ForTheLoveOf Established Member

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    What part fare are you referring to? The OP has stated that they can show on their bank statement that they paid the fare to Cardiff. It is not short-faring to give an incorrect origin if you have already paid your fare - it quite simply fails to pass the first limb of RoRA, which is that you have not paid your fare before travelling.

    This may be prosecuted under RoRA, but if TfW are naive enough to do so then I have no doubt that a properly defended prosecution would be defeated.
     
  21. tiptoptaff

    tiptoptaff Established Member

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    Exactly.

    And that is why in this instance, what is being said is incorrect, unhelpful and misleading.
     
  22. tiptoptaff

    tiptoptaff Established Member

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    They said they boarded at Bridgend when they got on at Neath. That is literally the definition of short-faring....
     
  23. Bletchleyite

    Bletchleyite Veteran Member

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    It doesn't. It proves they paid a sum equal to that fare, which may have been a ticket for someone else, for another day, or for a completely unconnected journey that happened to have the same fare.
     
  24. ForTheLoveOf

    ForTheLoveOf Established Member

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    It is certainly not absolute proof on its own that the OP bought a ticket for themselves for that day, but it is certainly enough to lend that suggestion a fair credence. Bear in mind also that the OP only needs to introduce reasonable doubt that they were committing the offence - it is not incumbent upon them to prove beyond all reasonable doubt, or even on the balance of probabilities, that they paid their fare.

    Also worth considering is the fact that TfW will hold records of tickets sold by card, so a request for personal data should show that the fare purchased was to Cardiff for today. I would have suggested that CCTV might also show them buying the ticket without being accompanied by anyone else who they might give the ticket to, but it is unfortunately very difficult to get hold of CCTV as a passenger, with access often refused (or requests not responded to) until it is automatically overwritten.
     
  25. ForTheLoveOf

    ForTheLoveOf Established Member

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    Perhaps you'd like to link to a generally accepted definition that doesn't include not having paid your fare?
     
  26. tiptoptaff

    tiptoptaff Established Member

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    pay his fare from the place whence he started

    Clearly, short-faring is an RORA offence.

    EDIT - didn't seem to quote correctly, so here is the excrpit, RORA Section 5 (1)

    Every passenger by a railway shall, on request by an officer or servant of a railway company, either produce, and if so requested deliver up, a ticket showing that his fare is paid, or pay his fare from the place whence he started, or give the officer or servant his name and address; and in case of default shall be liable on summary conviction to a fine not exceeding [F1level 2 on the standard scale].
     
  27. ForTheLoveOf

    ForTheLoveOf Established Member

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    But the OP had already paid their fare.

    They went about things the wrong way by asking for a new ticket rather than explaining their predicament, but that doesn't change the fact that they had paid their fare.
     
  28. tiptoptaff

    tiptoptaff Established Member

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    There is no evidence of this. The bank statement really does not prove anything.
     
  29. ForTheLoveOf

    ForTheLoveOf Established Member

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    I've explained its evidential value, especially in the context of evidence obtainable from TfW themselves, in this comment.
     
  30. tiptoptaff

    tiptoptaff Established Member

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    None of that proves that he paid his fare, only that an amount was paid.

    Why do you persist to defend deliberate fare evaders? Are you really stuffed that full of anti-toc vitriol?
     
  31. ForTheLoveOf

    ForTheLoveOf Established Member

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    I've already explained why it has evidential value. The use of the word "proves" is not especially useful when one is talking in the context of defending a notional prosecution, given the low bar for a successful defence (needing to merely cast reasonable doubt upon guilt).

    No reasonable person would take the indisputable facts that the OP paid a fare that just so happened to be the fare from Neath to Cardiff, at a time that just so happened to coincide with when they boarded at Neath, at a machine that just so happened to be located at Neath, with TfW's records showing that it just so happened to be a ticket from Neath to Cardiff - and then conclude that, because the OP declared an incorrect boarding station when asking for a new ticket, they, beyond all reasonable doubt, did not pay their fare.

    I don't dispute that, at civil Court the circumstances would probably pass the bar of "on the balance of probabilities", but prosecutions don't go by the civil standard of evidence.

    With respect, the OP is not a fare dodger, even if their actions bear an unfortunate resemblance to that kind of behaviour. They have paid their fare, and someone who has paid their fare is, by the very definition of the phrase, not a fare dodger.
     
    Last edited: 9 Jun 2019
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