Fare evasion help - settlement/prosecution

Seekinghelp

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14 Dec 2019
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I’ve found myself in a tricky situation and seeking advice what to do. I know I screwed up and want to put this right.

ive been contacted by Greater Anglia regarding non payment of fares over roughly a 12 month period.

An out of court settlement has been offered which is based on the single fares for trips made plus costs. I’m at a loss what to do and whether to accept the expensive settlement offer, put forward a case for a reduced amount or seek legal advice.

I called one law firm up who quoted a fee of £1200, which is a significant sum in itself and I’m not sure the extent this would help my case other than cost me more money.
 
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furlong

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Without more details it's impossible to say, but it is not uncommon for a settlement offered like this (based on single fares) to be higher than the amount a court would award with the help of a good solicitor after conviction (based on season ticket fares), but by the time you've paid for the legal representation and the other costs and fine and been through the additional stress of the court process and acquired a criminal conviction you might consider whether you would really be better off that way.

Look up the case of the City barrister Peter Barnett prosecuted by Chiltern "the actual loss is £5,892.70 and not the £19,689 as claimed".
 

furlong

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If the circumstances are similar (and they might not be) you might try to negotiate a lower settlement by referencing that particular case. Also note that that was a criminal matter. If the company chose to use the civil courts instead of (or as well as) the criminal courts, it would be able to make additional arguments to support the higher figure which the criminal court would not take into account but which a civil court might. The criminal court makes its award to put the company back into the position it would have been in had the crime not been committed. A civil court would consider what money is due contractually. The two figures might be different.
 

Seekinghelp

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Thanks for the helpful advice. I should have added that no details have yet been given to me about what offence they might prosecute me for. At the moment I just have a proposal for an out of court settlement
 

WesternLancer

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Thanks for the helpful advice. I should have added that no details have yet been given to me about what offence they might prosecute me for. At the moment I just have a proposal for an out of court settlement
If you quoted where from and where to you have been regularly travelling (and at what times of day) without a valid ticket it would be possible for people on here to work out what you should have been paying and then you can compare that with what you are being asked to pay and make a pretty simple cost / benefit calculation on your best way forward bearing in mind post #4's useful points.

But you probably know the price of the ticket you should have had so can also do this yourself.

Bear in mind season ticket costs can be significantly lower than daily tickets (and this calculation varies from route to route as it were).
 

WesternLancer

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Also you would need legal advice, I suspect, from a firm that genuinely understood rail fares and ticketing issues to increase your chances of winning, and I doubt there are that many solicitors who actually know much about that (so do your research before paying for one)! Probably better advice on the topic on here for free....
 

jumble

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Without more details it's impossible to say, but it is not uncommon for a settlement offered like this (based on single fares) to be higher than the amount a court would award with the help of a good solicitor after conviction (based on season ticket fares), but by the time you've paid for the legal representation and the other costs and fine and been through the additional stress of the court process and acquired a criminal conviction you might consider whether you would really be better off that way.

Look up the case of the City barrister Peter Barnett prosecuted by Chiltern "the actual loss is £5,892.70 and not the £19,689 as claimed".
As far as I am aware Peter Barnett was not offered an out of court settlement
The court ordered him to pay under £6000
This is not relevant at the moment and no one knows if a different court would do the same
He was ordered to do 200 hours community service and has a fraud conviction against his name
I don't suppose you particularly need legal representation to ask a magistrate to treat you the same as Peter Barnett if it goes to court
 

Brissle Girl

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So I think the options are as follows:-
Either: accept the offer, based on single fares, which is a much higher figure than one based on season ticket costs, and walk away poorer, wiser, but with no criminal conviction.
Or: contest the figure in court, using the Barnett case as a precedent as to why the amount payable should be lower, but, assuming you win, come away with a conviction for fraud, and have to pay costs, victim surcharge, solicitors fees, etc, etc on top of the repayment amount.,

The difference between the two figures is the price to pay to avoid a criminal conviction (oh, and a load of hassle in the meantime).

It's up to you which you choose. Without even knowing the figures involved, I know which I would choose.
 

furlong

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There are too many unknowns to make simple statements like that. Even minor details can make a significant difference to any negotiations and the outcome.
 

Haywain

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In following suggestions to cite the Barnett case, it might also be worth considering the ‘value’ of giving a significant amount of time to community service.
 

Brissle Girl

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There are too many unknowns to make simple statements like that. Even minor details can make a significant difference to any negotiations and the outcome.
Based on the information we've been offered, I stand by my summary of the situation. If the OP wishes to give us more facts then fine, but until they do the position seems to be that they can take the offer and avoid a criminal conviction, or go to the court and try and get a lower settlement, but that they will be found guilty in doing so. Yorkie put it even more succinctly than I did in the very first response - I was just trying to set it out in very clear terms.

I'm working on the assumption that the OP is guilty, as they seem to indicate that is the case, and also that the TOC has enough evidence to secure a conviction. Again, without any other information, that seems to be a reasonable assumption.
 

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