Fare Evasion Possible Prosecution- Please help

Discussion in 'Disputes & Prosecutions' started by tadic1533, 22 Dec 2019.

  1. Fawkes Cat

    Fawkes Cat Member

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    Unless you are in a position to demonstrate that the intoxication wasn't voluntary, I don't see that this would actually generate any sympathy - whether personal or legal - from the railway. You presumably know that drinking impairs your judgement*, and yet you did it, then carried out an activity (buying a railway ticket) that relies on having some judgement. It's hard to see how an action of your choice could be an excuse.

    *If you didn't know then, then you do now.
     
  2. najaB

    najaB Veteran Member

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    Oh, I don't disagree. I was responding to the question of if being tipsy would see you prosecuted for a Byelaw 4 offence.
     
  3. tadic1533

    tadic1533 Member

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    I am not trying to make an excuse for anything that has allegedly occurred, and this is clear as I am accepting responsibility for the events on that day. The reason why I am considering including this extra information about potentially having a drink or two is so that it may add to the reader's belief that this is a one-off incident (which it is); this would henceforth increase the likelihood of a settlement. If this just sounds like an excuse however, maybe I should leave any details like this out?
     
  4. WesternLancer

    WesternLancer Established Member

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    I doubt it would to be honest - but no more than a hunch.
     
  5. Kilopylae

    Kilopylae Member

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    It reads to me like you don't care - "I got drunk and accidentally defrauded you", or, worse, "It wasn't my fault; I was tipsy". In my view it would be best to leave out any extraneous details and just focus on demonstrating awareness of the difficulties you have incurred and offering to pay whatever is necessary.
     
  6. djw

    djw Member

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    Unless it has changed dramatically since I was at university, the general position is that voluntary intoxication is no defence, not least because of the public policy interest in not giving defendants a trivial escape from the charge(s) they face.

    In a relatively narrow range of situations, voluntary intoxication can negate mens rea - if you were so drunk that you could not form the necessary intent for a crime of specific intent (one where the requred mens rea is intention, such as the RoRA offence you appear to be accused of) that can lead to conviction of a lesser charge which, in this case, would be the byelaw offence (a strict liability offence, meaning it has no mens rea element).

    To my mind, your statement when stopped that you stated a false origin station to save money, that you make a mistake and that you regret your action appears to be a clear admission of an intentional act designed to withhold money rightly owed to the rail company. Any poor judgment behind that intention arising from voluntarily drunk alcohol is your fault and your responsibility. As I understand the law, you would have to be so drunk that you were incapable of making a deliberate decision to "short fare" for intoxication to come into play - and if you succeeded in this argument you would still likely be pursued for the lesser byelaw offence. If you were that intoxicated it would likely have been noted by the official who stopped you. Also, as you suggest, being that intoxicated would potentially have put you in the position of facing action for the byelaw 4(1) offence of being unfit to enter or remain on the railway owing to intoxication.


    If you want to try to settle this matter out of court, a full and frank admission of guilt might fare better than trying to argue against your admissions at the scene on the basis of intoxication. The rail company or, if it gets that far, the prosecutor does not have to exercise its discretion in offering an out of court settlement, but is perhaps more likely to do so if it feels you show insight into your wrongdoing, recognise the problems the railway faces from fare evasion and are a low risk of repeat offending. Indeed, arguing against your admissions whilst trying to settle out of court gives mixed messages - on one hand you are arguing that, at most, you are guilty of a lesser offence whilst on the other you are fully admitting guilt and offering to make restitution without the matter proceeding to prosecution.


    If you are ultimately convicted in relation to this matter and are worried what effect this will have on your possible future, I suggest you look at some of the decided cases before the Medical Practitioner's Tribunal Service. Those doctors who admit their wrongdoing, show insight into the causes of their wrongdoing and take steps to address those causes tend to fare much better than those who argue against the weight of evidence against them, doggedly refuse to admit to their wrongdoing and deny their wrongdoing caused actual or potential harm.

    A former GP of mine got himself involved in an inappropriate relationship with a patient - something for which he would most likely have been struck off. By the time the case came before the GMC (who heard disciplinary cases back then) he had ended the relationship, resigned from his role as a partner in the surgery, made a full and frank admission to the GMC of what had happened, sought professional help for the underlying problems he was facing in his life, and took full responsibility for the harm his wrongdoing had done. He was subject to a sanction short of striking off, but I think this was a relatively short suspension from the medical register.

    Conversely, a single, isolated dishonest act from a doctor who denies they did anything wrong and shows no insight into the harm their wrongdoing has caused can lead to them being struck off, as dishonesty accompanied by a lack of insight is typically felt to be fundamentally incompatible with the trust placed in a registered medical professional.

    It might be that tougher standards apply to those seeking to enter the medical profession than to those already in it; I simply do not know. If you are ultimately convicted you would be best to enquire with the General Medical Council and/or any university you intend to apply to if you do wish to pursue medicine. Bearing in mind the negative consequences of conviction, it might be worth engaging a solicitor if prosecution is unavoidable - though, as you recognise, you have already made various admissions that seem likely to limit the scope for defence or mitigation. My understanding is that an enhanced DBS check is part of the process of applying for medical school.


    Humans are fallible creatures and sometimes we make bad decisions. A clean record is ideal, but just because you have something in your past that is disclosable doesn't mean there is no chance of entering a particular profession, especially if it was an isolated incident, you disclose the matter at the earliest opportunity and make it clear that you learned your lesson. As has been said by others, not disclosing a relevant conviction that subsequently comes to light is likely to be gross misconduct justifying dismissal even if disclosing that conviction when asked would not have precluded your appointment. In this scenario, it is the dishonesty by failing to disclose a disclosable conviction when asked that is the gross misconduct.


    Note: I am writing based on knowledge gained from studying law at university, but am not a lawyer and have no specialist knowledge of railway offences. Others responding to you in this thread are better placed to address your situation than I am. Nevertheless, I hope this is helpful and constructive.
     
  7. Fare-Cop

    Fare-Cop Member

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    Having read through the entire thread with interest and having been a decision maker in these matters for half my working life, I’m afraid I am going to be blunt once again, but hope that you will take this in the spirit it is intended.

    The above quote was the 29th post in the thread and reads to me as that of someone who had been reading up on the subject after the event and had discovered what they thought was a possible ‘get out of trouble card’. There was no mention of intoxication in any sense in the original, but pretty detailed explanation.


    djw has covered this matter perfectly. You should concentrate on offering a sincere apology for having attempted to avoid the proper fare by your ill-judged decision to pay a lesser sum.

    Recognise that your actions were wrong and offer to pay the full fare due plus all of the costs of dealing with the matter that have been reasonably incurred by the rail company in order to maintain your previous good name.

    The TOC do not have to agree, but as yorkie points out, it may be in their interest to allow financial settlement in this case.
     
  8. tadic1533

    tadic1533 Member

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    Thank you for your inputs; my first letter response has been sent and does not include anything regarding intoxication. I agree with some of the comments here that it appears like an excuse and does not help the case at all. I have kept my response brief, shown contrition and have offered to pay the full amount plus any expenses- so let's hope its a positive response from the TOC.
     
  9. tadic1533

    tadic1533 Member

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    An Update:
    The TOC have responded and offered to settle the matter for a fee >£200, which I have paid to close the case. I am very grateful no further action will be taken. It is interesting that my case was (thankfully) not passed to TIL- not sure if they have a contract which covers only certain routes/stations?

    Just a couple more things to add:

    I would just like to thank everybody who gave up their time to provide their advice and opinions on this post, it is really appreciated and was a great help in a time where I had no idea what to do.

    I can't help but think that less of these offences would take place if TOC's advertised more clearly that ticket evasion is a serious criminal offence- and not just a £20 fine which most people probably think it is. Yes, people shouldn't do it in the first place, but if there were signs on the train saying something like "Fare evaders will be prosecuted" , I am certain that many people would not take this risk for the sake of saving a few quid.

    If anybody else finds themselves in this position, try not to panic. Yes it is stressful, but follow the guidance you see on this forum and you should be fine. To help with the stress, I screenshotted examples of positive settlement outcomes and whenever it was getting a bit much I would read through these screenshots and feel better.

    A quick overview of what I did:
    1.Emailed several days after incident to apologise (did not receive a response so not sure this is the best course of action)
    2.Replied to initial notice of prosecution admitting I was in the wrong, with both handwritten letter, typed, and a copy of my original email.
    3.Received settlement and paid it soon after.

    Good luck!
     
  10. Fawkes Cat

    Fawkes Cat Member

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    That, I think, is a good result in the circumstances. Going all the way back to your original post, another lesson that could be shared with anyone who finds this thread when looking for advice is that the railway were prepared to offer a settlement because it was your first offence. For anyone who tries it more than once, the railway may not be so generous.

    Thanks for letting us know the result.
     

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