Fare Evasion - Help !

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jagil1

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Good morning all,

I found this forum on google & have found the posts very informative. I didn't want to post a topic as I am afraid to be honest but hope that you may be able to help me?

I use the Greater Anglia service from Chadwell Heath to London Liverpool St on a regular basis. Because of money probs, I was fare dodging from between Chadwell Heath & Stratford, tapping in at Stratford then getting back on the train and tapping out London Liverpool St.

I did this from between Sept last year til Jan this year when I was caght by a ticket inspector at Stratford as I tapped in. I was put under caution and he took my name, add and Oyster details. Last week I received a letter from Greater Anglia's Prosecution Unit.

It reads "Dear XYZ, on xxrd Jan 2012, at Stratford (London) station a person giving the above name & address was questionned by a member of staff about the payment of a rail fare. Before I proceed further with the investigation of this matter, I would like to give you the opportunity of responding with your explanation concerning this incident. Please complete the bottom section of this letter and if you wish to make any comments about the incedent, please do so on the reverse of this letter."

I am very very stressed & worried about this as after being caught out, I realised that fare dodging is a lot more serious than I first thought. I didn't realise that I could end up with a criminal record.

I've never been in trouble with the police in my life and my career may well be on the line if I end up with a criminal record , not to mention finding another would also be 10 times more difficult with a criminal record.

I called a solicitor last night regarding the issue and he advised that he could represent me in this case but will charge around £1500 to reply to this letter for me. I can't afford that either.

How would you suggest that I reply to this letter without accepting liability (as advised by the solicitor yesterday) & how would you suggest I go about trying to settle this matter out of court as I can't land myself with a criminal record?

Your help would be very very much appreciated.
 
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DaveNewcastle

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I've already responded to the private correspondence and won't repeat that on here, with just one exception.
As I understand this report, the OP will be linked to an Oyster account record of this method of travelling for the four months in question. That's quite an impressive record of 'intent to avoid payment'.
 

Urban Gateline

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I'm not sure why the OP doesn't want to admit liability, as they obviously were liable for their actions and should face up to the consequences.

Blatent serial fare evaders like this one gets no sympathy from me, I don't think anyone should be helping to get them off the hook! <(
 

Anon Mouse

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No symapathy at all. Sorry, but its your own fault. You wouldnt get on a bus without paying the driver, you wouldnt get in a taxi with no intention to pay so why should a train be any different?
 

Bungle73

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Which, I hope, cannot be found.
I'm not sure why the OP doesn't want to admit liability, as they obviously were liable for their actions and should face up to the consequences.

Blatent serial fare evaders like this one gets no sympathy from me, I don't think anyone should be helping to get them off the hook! <(
I have to agree. A lot of cases I read on here where TOCs have gone after people there are mitigating circumstances, and I can feel sympathy for the person. I have none for the OP in this case. He deliberately fare evaded, and did so for many months.

I'm not sure why a solicitor would advise to not accept liability, when it seems to be an open and shut case, but I'm no legal expert.
 

Oswyntail

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I'm not sure why the OP doesn't want to admit liability, as they obviously were liable for their actions and should face up to the consequences.

Blatent serial fare evaders like this one gets no sympathy from me, I don't think anyone should be helping to get them off the hook! <(
I feel sorry for the OP - but only in as much as facing prosecution and its consequences must be an ordeal. But, like so many situations, when you have brought this on yourself far and away the best approach is to take it on the chin and move on. Do you wallow in self-pity - "I've lost my job, money, and self-respect, and I have a criminal record, my future is ruined" - or start from where you are - "What can I do to get straight again?"
 

michael769

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Just to make one thing clear to the OP as this is a criminal matter it is not a case of admitting liability (as would be the case in a civil matter) but a question as to which plea he enters to the charges (should it come to court) ie guilty or not guilty shout it come to court.

At this stage when responding to the request he should bear in mind that anything he sends in will, should a decision be made to prosecute, be passed to the prosecutor and may be used as evidence against him at trial. It would be highly advisable to have his response proof read by someone else.

Other than owning up and placing himself at the mercy of the ToC in the hope he can reach some kind of out of court agreement I see little prospect of him being able to avoid court - in which case it all comes down to if the ToC has sufficient evidence to obtain a conviction, and indeed which offence(s) they feel they have sufficient evidence to prosecute.
 

34D

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Good morning all,

I found this forum on google & have found the posts very informative.
On this forum, it is the done thing for most members to be upstanding and totally honest. The only ways I can see to even try to get off this would be to tell some serious porky pies. It may be worth a post on moneysavingexpert as there is more of a "customer is always right" attitude and less sense of responsibility than on here.
 

scotsman

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I am tempted, sorely tempted, to draw this page to the attention of Greater Anglia.

You don't appear to be remorseful for what you have done, just horrified at the consequences of your actions...take note for your day in court.
 

island

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I would rate your chances of getting away without a criminal record as very low. You have, at your own admission, been paying only two-thirds of the correct fare for four months.

Oyster records, even if they only go back eight weeks (as I understand it), will show a history of doing this, and it will be one of the easiest "avoiding payment of fare with intent" cases ever. On the plus side, the conviction will be spent after 5 years (7 if you get jail time, which is unlikely).

The only way out, and it's dubious, would be to throw yourself on Greater Anglia's mercy and offer a very substantial sum in compensation for their lost fares and administrative costs. If you have evaded a fare of around £1.30 a day for 16 weeks and £1.50 a day for around 3 weeks, the fares evaded would be around £130. An opening offer for them not to take things further would probably be around £300.

I appreciate money is tight, but in court, you would probably be looking at £130 in compensation, £100 in costs, £15 victim surcharge, and a fine relating to your weekly means, as well as a criminal record for 5 years. If you can raise the money, then try making the offer.

If I were the Greater Anglia prosecutions unit, I would decline any offer and proceed with the prosecution in the public interest because of the seriousness, but you might get lucky.
 

Ferret

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I would rate your chances of getting away without a criminal record as very low. You have, at your own admission, been paying only two-thirds of the correct fare for four months.

Oyster records, even if they only go back eight weeks (as I understand it), will show a history of doing this, and it will be one of the easiest "avoiding payment of fare with intent" cases ever. On the plus side, the conviction will be spent after 5 years (7 if you get jail time, which is unlikely).

The only way out, and it's dubious, would be to throw yourself on Greater Anglia's mercy and offer a very substantial sum in compensation for their lost fares and administrative costs. If you have evaded a fare of around £1.30 a day for 16 weeks and £1.50 a day for around 3 weeks, the fares evaded would be around £130. An opening offer for them not to take things further would probably be around £300.

I appreciate money is tight, but in court, you would probably be looking at £130 in compensation, £100 in costs, £15 victim surcharge, and a fine relating to your weekly means, as well as a criminal record for 5 years. If you can raise the money, then try making the offer.

If I were the Greater Anglia prosecutions unit, I would decline any offer and proceed with the prosecution in the public interest because of the seriousness, but you might get lucky.
Island, can I ask - have you read DaveNewcastle's post regarding the Oyster providing a lengthy record of the OP's fare evasion? The TOC may even have access to CCTV records by now, proving that the OP has been evading the fare. I'm afraid it'll take an offer well in excess of 300 pounds to keep this one out of Court. And given the seriousness of the offence - the TOC may just decide to go ahead and prosecute regardless of any offer that is made.

To the OP - all I can say is that by now, I'd expect the train company prosecution department to be building a significant case against you. If it does go to Court, I can see you being fined a significant amount, ordered to pay costs and also required to pay the train company the fares that you have evaded. If you are to make them an offer to settle out of Court, then you should offer to pay all of the money you should've paid in the first place (quite a large sum of money I'd imagine) and also compensate them for the administration work they have had to do. I think whatever happens, you are going to be paying out a large sum of money here - and I sincerely hope this teaches you a lesson.
 

Mojo

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I think the above posts represent a good enough response and about as good as the advice that the OP is going to get. To prevent any more posts repeating the same old stuff, I'll lock the thread there.
 
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