Facing prosecution for slip of the tongue

Greenboy

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But, as someone noted on another thread, when people get stations mixed up it always seems to involve a closer station / one with a cheaper fare.

If the train operators are to give "the benefit of the doubt" isn't that giving open season to short-faring?

I'm well aware that some people are less than truthful but I can only take the OP at face value and there is a basic concept of innocent until proven guilty.
 
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najaB

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...and there is a basic concept of innocent until proven guilty.
Unfortunately, in this case there is no doubt that the OP asked for a short fare so there is no doubt about the actus rectus. The only thing being questioned is the mens rea - and their defence requires the TOC to believe that there was momentary confusion between "Amersham" and "Stoke Mandeville".
 

Fawkes Cat

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there is a basic concept of innocent until proven guilty
That's in court. We're not a court, but people trying to give helpful advice. If we are to constantly assume that anyone who comes here is as innocent as they think they are, that rather limits how useful our advice might be.
 

Bertie the bus

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I agree and the OP’s first letter was awful. It is difficult to see how a letter that largely said I’ve done nothing wrong and am being victimized could be worse. She obviously took the advice of those she wanted to take the advice of, i.e. those who think her excuses are believable, rather than the advice of some of the people she should have.
 

Tentx

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Again thank you all who have commented. I’m sending a reply tonight, will keep the thread updated with what’s to come...
 

Tentx

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Dear Mr xxxx,

I would like to express my sincere apology to Chiltern Railways for the confusion surrounding my ticket for the journey between Stoke Mandeville and London Marylebone on 10/11/19.

I understand it is always the traveller’s responsibility to pay the correct fare due and to obtain a valid ticket before boarding any train where pre-purchase facilities are available. However a valid ticket was not held because the ticket office at Stoke Mandeville was closed, the ticket machines were not working and there wasn’t a conductor present on the train to Marylebone.

I confirmed with the Revenue Protection Officer (RPO) we were travelling without tickets as we were unable to purchase them from the station we came from. I mistakenly advised we needed a group travel ticket from Amersham - London Marylebone. After questions regarding the station from the RPO I realised I said the wrong station name, immediately apologised, corrected myself and advised we came from Stoke Mandeville. No transaction was processed at this time.

I did not intend to short fare. In view of saying ‘Amersham’ I can assure it was not in any attempt to short fare, I am baffled as to why I said Amersham but I assure you it is the truth. During the conversation with the RPO my mind was on other matters, we were running late for an event and passed through Amersham and the station has frequently been on my mind as at one point I was considering moving and working there.

Once again I sincerely apologise for the inconvenience caused. I regret making the mistake of saying the wrong station name. I have learned an important lesson in that when speaking I should pay full attention and be careful of what I say as a small mishap may prove detrimental, such a blunder will never be made again. I am very keen to resolve the situation and kindly ask if you would accept a settlement out of court to pay any costs/administration fees incurred.

Kind regards,
xxx


I have *painfully* tried to keep it short...
 
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some bloke

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Well done - it's much better. (Note "Amsersham"!)

Was it "after questions" or "after a question" that you realised? If it was only one question, maybe better to say that.
 
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Haywain

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I did not intend to short fare. In view of saying ‘Amersham’ I can assure it was not in any attempt to short fare, I am baffled as to why I said Amersham but I assure you it is the truth. During the conversation with the RPO my mind was on other matters, we were running late for an event and passed through Amersham and the station has frequently been on my mind as at one point I was considering moving and working there.
In my view the letter is still too long and the paragraph quoted above should be a line saying something to the effect of "I gave the wrong origin station which I now regret". As it stands it reads as saying it wasn't really your fault and could happen again. The letter needs to be read as saying you accept the fault was entirely yours.
 

WesternLancer

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But, as someone noted on another thread, when people get stations mixed up it always seems to involve a closer station / one with a cheaper fare.

If the train operators are to give "the benefit of the doubt" isn't that giving open season to short-faring?
Good point - tho you would never know about the people who mistakenly choose one further away - as they would not end up getting reported for prosecution and need help I don't suppose.
 
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Haywain

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Good point - tho you would never know about the people who mistakenly choose one further away - as they would not end up getting reported for persecution and need help I don't suppose.
It does happen occasionally but it's usually because a station with a similar name has been involved, examples being Loughborough/Loughborough Junction or Hatfield (Herts)/Hatfield & Stainforth.
 

Haywain

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I get station names mixed up and I`m a regular traveller and often the names are not even similar, some people just do that.
Yes, but on the same line of route and nearer to the destination? I've done but it's been asking for something like a ticket to Bristol Temple Meads rather than Parson Street. And long before reaching Bristol.
 

some bloke

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I get station names mixed up and I`m a regular traveller and often the names are not even similar, some people just do that.
@Tentx, your story may be more credible if you can say something about yourself that puts the mistake in context.

Three possible benefits of hiring a solicitor:
1) They may prompt you to come up with a useful line of defence.
For example, you may have convincing arguments that you are a bit dreamy or get confused in some situations. (I'm not saying those are the case - they are examples; although if your friends thought you were very dreamy, someone might wonder why your friends would let you buy the ticket.)
2) A solicitor may help you to express more convincingly, or offer assurances, that you are telling the truth.
3) The company and/or magistrates may take the same defence more seriously just because a solicitor is involved.
The company may see time discussing the case with a solicitor as more hassle than they want, and so not prosecute. As I said above, the decision whether to hire a solicitor depends on personal factors.

Many people might not relate to your saying the wrong station name, as a mistake they would make themselves. So is there more you can say about yourself that's relevant, bearing in mind the general comment you made earlier? You don't necessarily have to convince the company you're innocent; they may settle (it might be optimistic to think they'd drop this case) because they think you would sow enough "reasonable doubt" in the minds of magistrates.

I tried to explain I made a simple mistake and that I mince my words sometimes
That may point to your best line of defence (though not using that phrase) - something like:

"...I recognise this kind of behaviour in myself from a habit of sometimes being confused; I attach a statement from X
[that you have a habit of muddling things up, from someone you think a court/the company would take seriously]."
 

Tentx

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@Tentx, your story may be more credible if you can say something about yourself that puts the mistake in context.

Three possible benefits of hiring a solicitor:
1) They may prompt you to come up with a useful line of defence.
For example, you may have convincing arguments that you are a bit dreamy or get confused in some situations. (I'm not saying those are the case - they are examples; although if your friends thought you were very dreamy, someone might wonder why your friends would let you buy the ticket.)
2) A solicitor may help you to express more convincingly, or offer assurances, that you are telling the truth.
3) The company and/or magistrates may take the same defence more seriously just because a solicitor is involved.
The company may see time discussing the case with a solicitor as more hassle than they want, and so not prosecute. As I said above, the decision whether to hire a solicitor depends on personal factors.

Many people might not relate to your saying the wrong station name, as a mistake they would make themselves. So is there more you can say about yourself that's relevant, bearing in mind the general comment you made earlier? You don't necessarily have to convince the company you're innocent; they may settle (it might be optimistic to think they'd drop this case) because they think you would sow enough "reasonable doubt" in the minds of magistrates.
Unfortunately having the help of a solicitor isn’t really in my means, the solicitors I’ve spoken to charge £650 plus VAT and family won’t be able to help out with costs.

As I’ve mentioned before there really well and truly isn’t anything more I can add about why I said Amersham. I can have “ditzy moments” but obviously that can’t be used as an excuse!

The response has been sent off and now it’s a waiting game for their reply. I’m anticipating the worst and that they’ll reject my letter. From what I’ve seen from other threads it’s recommended to call and write to TIL *begging* for a settlement?
 

some bloke

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From what I’ve seen from other threads it’s recommended to call and write to TIL *begging* for a settlement?
As you're saying you're not guilty, it's perhaps more a case of persisting, while offering a settlement because of the confusion you've caused. If you look too desperate to avoid court, they might think it's because you're guilty.

Two possibly hopeful aspects are:

1. The case will go back to Chiltern if it continues. Train companies generally take more care to read letters and give sensible responses than TIL do.

2. Your new letter is an improvement.
You may get a better response when the file is passed back to Chiltern.
If it got that far, a last resort before court would be to go early, ask staff where the prosecutor was and attempt to persuade them to settle. They might be more inclined to believe you if you meet them. There may also be the option of phoning the prosecution department in advance, though there may be the risk of saying the wrong thing.
You might see the risk of saying the wrong thing as outweighed by the benefit of talking to someone, as a court date gets closer - if TIL/Chiltern want to continue the case.

Just to check - are you covered by free legal advice for example through a trade union, student union, bank account, insurance, or parents' home insurance?
 

najaB

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From what I’ve seen from other threads it’s recommended to call and write to TIL *begging* for a settlement?
It's no so much begging for a settlement as it is trying to convince them that it's the TOC's best interest to settle rather than prosecute. The main points you want to get across are that you are sorry for your mistake, that you will be careful in future to ensure that it doesn't happen again, and that you want to bring the matter to a close as quickly as possible without incurring them additional costs.
 

Tentx

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I had a lovely chat with the prosecutor (who I’m sure has actually been following the thread...) who confirmed that a settlement will not be offered....


thank you all who have contributed with advice. There isn’t anything I can do. Will be prosecuted under the regulations and not bye laws.
 

_toommm_

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I had a lovely chat with the prosecutor (who I’m sure has actually been following the thread...) who confirmed that a settlement will not be offered....


thank you all who have contributed with advice. There isn’t anything I can do. Will be prosecuted under the regulations and not bye laws.
Just out of curiosity, what makes you think that they're following this thread?
 

Tentx

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Just out of curiosity, what makes you think that they're following this thread?
In the email the prosecutor sent to me he included the phrase ‘slip of the tongue’ which I hadn’t referenced in my communications. In our conversation he referenced a forum which gives advice, and how sometimes the forum gives bad advice
 

some bloke

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In the email the prosecutor sent to me he included the phrase ‘slip of the tongue’ which I hadn’t referenced in my communications. In our conversation he referenced a forum which gives advice, and how sometimes the forum gives bad advice
It would be bad advice if you were guilty, which is what he's alleging. Is his remark based on assuming you're guilty?

Would you like to post that email with identifying details removed, in case anyone on here can spot something?

On the off chance it's useful, perhaps you could write down your memory of the conversation, while it's fresh/your account is more likely to be trusted.
 

some bloke

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It's one thing to say "because of the circumstances, we are going to go ahead and let the court decide".

It would be another thing to say you're badly advised in claiming innocence (ie telling you that you are guilty, which might perhaps be regarded as bullying). Do you think he was saying you shouldn't claim to be innocent?
 
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some bloke

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Is it worth Tentx asking the company for the evidence (eg inspector's notes, body camera video, recording of the phone call) and/or making a Subject Access Request?
 

Tentx

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It would be bad advice if you were guilty, which is what he's alleging. Is his remark based on assuming you're guilty?

Would you like to post that email with identifying details removed, in case anyone on here can spot something?

On the off chance it's useful, perhaps you could write down your memory of the conversation, while it's fresh/your account is more likely to be trusted.
The email:

I have reviewed your case today and the facts are clear that there is sufficient evidence to proceed to prosecution.

On the 10 November and upon arrival at London Marylebone you asked for a ticket from Amersham for your party knowing that you had travelled from Stoke Mandeville. Had you been allowed to have purchased the ticket that you requested for your party then the payment of the correct rail fares would have been avoided.

I have reviewed your case and cannot see how your ‘slip of the tongue ‘ can be a reasonable excuse as Amersham and Stoke Mandeville sound nothing alike. I also found your excuse that you were thinking of living in Amersham several years ago and that’s why you thought of it as also not realistic.
 

Tentx

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It's one thing to say "because of the circumstances, we are going to go ahead and let the court decide".

It would be another thing to say you're badly advised in claiming innocence (ie telling you that you are guilty, which might perhaps be regarded as bullying).

Do you think he was saying you shouldn't claim to be innocent?
The conversation:
He said the case will be reviewed again before the summons will be issued. No settlement can be made due to TILs contract with Chiltern railways and due to the nature of the offence.

He did say I can write to Chiltern which he’ll pass to them in the review. I’ll write something but incredibly doubtful it’ll make a difference given what’s already been said. What also doesn’t help is that a senior RPO spoke to me so I’m kind of thinking an example is being made of me
 

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