Help with evidence against fare evasion

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cb

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Hello,

I'm new to posting threads, and dont want to upset anyone! But I am the person who actually left my ticket on the train and was collared at the blockade when I got off. I have received my standard letter asking for me to explain why I didnt have a ticket - as I explained to the ticket inspector, I paid by card and so my bank statement shows a debit of the correct amount, albeit a day later due to clearing.

My question is - will it be enough evidence for me to simply provide a bank statement? I have been worried to death reading everyones threads about Northern Rail being really harsh pursing fare evaders, and I dont want this matter to go any further.

Before I write & send off my bank statement I just wanted peace of mind that they dont want any other evidence from me, or expect me to offer to settle out of court to avoid a criminal record, which is something that I keep on reading again & again on these threads!

Thanks in advance for your help,
xx
 
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yorkie

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Welcome to the forum.

Sorry, I do not know if they will accept only a bank statement as evidence. I can only suggest contacting Northern Rail to enquire if they will accept this evidence.

Is there any possibility of you obtaining any further evidence?

What about Northern's evidence? For you to get a criminal record, they'd need to demonstrate intent. If they did a blockade on a station that does not normally have barriers and the passenger has evidence of paying the correct sum, and it is plausible that the ticket was left on the train, and there is no further evidence to suggest avoiding payment of the fare, then such a prosecution may not be straightforward and, I would suspect, be likely to fail (but IANAL) providing it was well defended. There is evidence that, when certain Train Companies cannot provide sufficient evidence of intent, they use the Railway Byelaws instead (as discussed in other threads) which are not recordable.

Losing or misplacing your ticket should not get you convicted of a Regulation of Railways Act offence, but - to my disgust, and the disgust of others too, as discussed elsewhere - can get you convicted of a non-recordable Byelaw offence.
 

cb

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Thanks for getting back to me so quickly.

I cant believe the amount of sleep that I have lost over something that seems to be a bit trivial and must happen frequently.

I'm sorry but I am a bit naive & dont understand the consequences of possibly being 'convicted of a non-recordable Byelaw offence', would they really pursue this matter, especially with a bank statement? And do these companies try to pursue people in the hopes that they scare them into offering to settle out of court - I am close to offering to pay them off & I know that I did buy a return ticket for that journey, just as I do 3 times a week - which of course my bank statement also shows, so they should see that I'm not a habitual offender! Thanks again
 

ainsworth74

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If you're convicted of a Byelaw offence then you'll have to pay a fine of up to £1000 but that would be the end of it, they are not recordable offences so you would not have a criminal record. As with Yorkie however I cannot advise if providing a bank statement would be enough and suggest contacting Northern Rail to find out.

Does the bank statement show the actual date that you purchased the ticket? I've noticed in the past that the transaction on statements can show up a few days later than when it actually took place. If that's the case here then that could weaken the weight of the bank statement as evidence.

That being said I think no matter what you are probably still liable for a Byelaw offence. Byelaw 18 states that:

(2) A person shall hand over his ticket for inspection and verification of validity
when asked to do so by an authorised person.
You were not able to do so when asked and therefore are in breach of the Byelaws. These really are open and shut cases due to the Byelaws being strict liability offences this means the question is simply "did you show a ticket when asked?" if the answer is no then you're guilty, case closed. I agree with Yorkie that it's crazy you can be penalized in this way for simply misplacing your ticket but these are the rules.

You can find a copy of the Byelaws here and it's Byelaw 18 that's of interest in this case.

This is not legal advice in any way shape or form just information/my thoughts
 
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Stigy

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As the Byelaw offence is one of Strict Liability, there's really no defence, as Byelaw 18(2) dictates that you are able to produce a ticket on demand. If however the charge is one of Fare Evasion (s.5(3)a Regulation of Railways Act 1889), then you would probably have enough evidence in the bank statement to get out of it.

I think chances are though, in these circumstances, that the charge would be a Byelaw and not Regulation of Railways Act.
 

BestWestern

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The issue of the date of transaction on a bank statement is surely not a problem, since the bank ought to be able to establish the exact details of when the initial transaction took place. I am no expert in these matters, but if your bank can provide evidence that you bought a ticket, at the location you advised the officers you started from, at the correct fare to the destination they caught you at, and at a time corresponding with your journey, then I would imagine even the most desperate of prosecutions departments would think twice.

The assumption that everybody who buys a train ticket has read the NRCoC from cover to cover is deeply flawed and horrendously skewed in favour of efforts like this, where the passenger is assumed to be a criminal who has to go to excessive lengths to crush the TOC trying to give them hell over nothing. By all means take their details, but if ta passenger has a reasonable 'defence' then they should be given the opportunity to prove their innocence before being dragged through the mill.
 
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ainsworth74

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I am no expert in these matters, but if your bank can provide evidence that you bought a ticket, at the location you advised the officers you started from, at the correct fare to the destination they caught you at, and at a time corresponding with your journey, then I would imagine even the most desperate of prosecutions departments would think twice.
Maybe but really the only the thing the statement would clear the OP of would be of deliberately trying to evade the fare (i.e. a RoRA S5(3) offence). They would, in my opinion, still be guilty of violating Byelaw 18(2) because they did not show a valid ticket when asked to do so.
 

BestWestern

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Maybe but really the only the thing the statement would clear the OP of would be of deliberately trying to evade the fare (i.e. a RoRA S5(3) offence). They would, in my opinion, still be guilty of violating Byelaw 18(2) because they did not show a valid ticket when asked to do so.
I agree, but is it in anything other than pedantic in the extreme to accept that a passenger had bought a ticket - clearly conceding this by failing to bring any charges against them that they did not buy a ticket - but to then mount a prosecution simply on the basis that they did not produce the ticket you have already agreed they had bought, when they have a perfectly feasible explanation that they left it on the train at the end of their journey?!
 

ainsworth74

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I'm not quite sure why we're still talking as we clearly both agree with each other :lol:

I'm not saying anything that Northern may do is logical/fair/reasonable only that by the letter of the law they probably have a case and that they'd probably be successful.
 

BestWestern

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It would be interesting to see if they were successful. I'd like to think that a decent defence along the lines of above might be enough to make a judge see sense, but of course you just never know!

Perhaps we're still talking because we're the only two lonely individuals posting on a train forum at 2.30 in the morning?!! :oops: :D
 

bb21

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I agree, but is it in anything other than pedantic in the extreme to accept that a passenger had bought a ticket - clearly conceding this by failing to bring any charges against them that they did not buy a ticket - but to then mount a prosecution simply on the basis that they did not produce the ticket you have already agreed they had bought, when they have a perfectly feasible explanation that they left it on the train at the end of their journey?!
But then we are back to the age-old suggestion that they could have given the ticket to someone else, this getting travel for two for the price of one.

Unfortunately there is no way to prove it either way. The simple matter of fact is that the OP is in contravention of Byelaw 18(2).

I, too, would not mind seeing the Byelaws challenged in court, however I would hate to see it at the OP's expense.
 

Skymonster

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But then we are back to the age-old suggestion that they could have given the ticket to someone else, this getting travel for two for the price of one.
This surely is the crux of the problem - with bank statement evidence a reasonable assumption would be that the passenger had bought a ticket, but an alternative and less generous assumption is a view that evidence of payment but no ticket could be used to get two-for-one, and in such cases proving the buyer and the passenger were one and the same might be difficult.

It may be little consolation but if this goes ahead I wonder whether there's an opprtunity to at least dispute the card payment and try to get the fare back - the TOC might have difficultly defending a position that the payment was valid if at the same time they were accusing the passenger of failing to produce a ticket?
 

Ferret

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But then we are back to the age-old suggestion that they could have given the ticket to someone else, this getting travel for two for the price of one.

Unfortunately there is no way to prove it either way. The simple matter of fact is that the OP is in contravention of Byelaw 18(2).

I, too, would not mind seeing the Byelaws challenged in court, however I would hate to see it at the OP's expense.
How would you contest a byelaw in Court?!

To the OP, I have to be honest, I doubt they will accept a bank statement as sufficient evidence. It'll be down to the opinion of whoever is dealing with your case - but to be blunt, you were in breach of byelaw 18, so if that's the way it is viewed, you'll be stuck with the options of going to Court and being fined or settling out of Court.
 

cb

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Wow. So, please can I ask if it is better for me to offer to settle out of court at this stage - are these offeres generally accepted for ease & speed of settlement? The standard letter that I received states that if it goes to court then I would have to pay £150 contribution to costs, in addition to any fine imposed by the court - is that then a reasonable amount to offer to pay to settle out of court? I have never done anything like this before, so I dont know quite how to proceed but know that I will do anything to not let this go any further - I just want the matter settled. :(

Thanks everyone.
 

ralphchadkirk

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How would you contest a byelaw in Court?!
You could seek Judical Review to determine whether or not the bylaws were ultra vires - whether they had gone beyond the power that the enabling Act invested in them. However as long as they were implemented correctly and did not contradict a piece of primary legislation I doubt there is much that could be done (as section 219 of the Transport Act 2000 specifically allows the Railways to make bylaws surrounding ticketing and fare evasion and punishment thereof).
 

Ferret

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Wow. So, please can I ask if it is better for me to offer to settle out of court at this stage - are these offeres generally accepted for ease & speed of settlement? The standard letter that I received states that if it goes to court then I would have to pay £150 contribution to costs, in addition to any fine imposed by the court - is that then a reasonable amount to offer to pay to settle out of court? I have never done anything like this before, so I dont know quite how to proceed but know that I will do anything to not let this go any further - I just want the matter settled. :(

Thanks everyone.
My opinion is that you'd be best served attempting to get this settled before it reaches Court. I guess there's a slim chance of them accepting the bank statement as sufficient evidence, but it really is a slim chance I would think. I appreciate this probably isn't what you want to hear, but rather that than create false hope. Good luck with whatever you decide to do.
--- old post above --- --- new post below ---
You could seek Judical Review to determine whether or not the bylaws were ultra vires - whether they had gone beyond the power that the enabling Act invested in them. However as long as they were implemented correctly and did not contradict a piece of primary legislation I doubt there is much that could be done (as section 219 of the Transport Act 2000 specifically allows the Railways to make bylaws surrounding ticketing and fare evasion and punishment thereof).
Thanks for that Ralph. I remember the term 'ultra vires' from my law A-Level which was done well over a decade ago. I imagined you'd have to go for Judicial Review, but I'd also say that any such action would be somewhat futile?
 

ralphchadkirk

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Thanks for that Ralph. I remember the term 'ultra vires' from my law A-Level which was done well over a decade ago. I imagined you'd have to go for Judicial Review, but I'd also say that any such action would be somewhat futile?
I'd guess that it would be pretty futile unless they were so clearly unfair that a serious miscarriage of justice would occur but IANAL.
--- old post above --- --- new post below ---
I've just been researching Judicial Reviews as it's a weaker area of knowledge of mine, and I found this wonderful quote from Lord Diplock who said a decision may be considered irrational and thus quashed if it "so outrageous in its defiance of logic or of accepted moral standards that no sensible person who had applied his mind to the question could have arrived at it."
 

DaveNewcastle

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I have some experience of Judicial Reviews and will agree that this would be the appropriate process by which to challenge a Byelaw. However, and based on the facts we have here, the OP would not have any realistic prospect of success, and perhaps more importantly, is likely to incur costs of many tens of thousands of pounds.

The current objective should be to evaluate whether the Operator has the necessary Evidence to secure a Byelaw Prosecution, which I will assume for the moment that they have*, and then aim for a negotiated and settled agreement with the Prosecutions Department, and failing that, having the matter dismissed before or during a Hearing due to the paucity of Evidence.

* I assume that the OP has mad some statement which confirms the travel and the inability to produce a ticket. If such an incriminating statement has not been made, then any attempt to negotiate a settlement is likely to involve self-incrimination and should be done by a solicitor or not at all.
 

Brucey

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When does the requirement for a passenger to show a valid ticket end? The Byelaws don't actually tell us.
 

ainsworth74

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When does the requirement for a passenger to show a valid ticket end? The Byelaws don't actually tell us.
I would suggest that going on Byelaw 18 that there is a requirement from the moment you step aboard a train until you either pass through a barrier at your destination or leave the destination station. But that's just my opinion on the matter.
 

BestWestern

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Perhaps the best way forward then might be to contact the TOC, explaining the circumstances and including any evidence which is available to support the facts and an offer to settle. Bearing in mind that you DID pay the fare, and will provide some evidence of this, I would hope that a sensibly modest offer would be sufficient, enough to contribute towards the TOC's 'costs' rather than any amount which suggests that you deserve a significant financial penalty.

The suggestion of the purchased ticket having been passed to somebody else surely clearly doesn't apply here. If a revenue check was being conducted on board, then assuming the Guard was marking tickets rather than just glancing at them, such a move would be completely fruitless since the ticket would be clearly void at the second attempt of use. Passing it to a second passenger after leaving the train is equally unlikely as; a) it would almost certainly have been apparent as they left the train that they were travelling together, suddenly splitting up on approach to a revenue block would be quite obviously suspicious, and b) how would the first passenger have expected to leave the station?
 

hairyhandedfool

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Perhaps the best way forward then might be to contact the TOC, explaining the circumstances and including any evidence which is available to support the facts and an offer to settle. Bearing in mind that you DID pay the fare, and will provide some evidence of this, I would hope that a sensibly modest offer would be sufficient, enough to contribute towards the TOC's 'costs' rather than any amount which suggests that you deserve a significant financial penalty....
The op can prove they bought a ticket, the op can't possibly prove they bought the ticket they claim to have left on the train.

....The suggestion of the purchased ticket having been passed to somebody else surely clearly doesn't apply here. If a revenue check was being conducted on board, then assuming the Guard was marking tickets rather than just glancing at them, such a move would be completely fruitless since the ticket would be clearly void at the second attempt of use....
"....If a revenue check was being conducted on board,...."

That makes the assumption a ticket check was being made, the barrier staff have no way of knowing if a check was made or not.

....Passing it to a second passenger after leaving the train is equally unlikely as; a) it would almost certainly have been apparent as they left the train that they were travelling together, suddenly splitting up on approach to a revenue block would be quite obviously suspicious, and b) how would the first passenger have expected to leave the station?
I buy a ticket, I get a receipt (proof, you might say, that I have bought a ticket). I give the ticket to my mate, who will never need to prove he bought the ticket, because he has the ticket in his hand. My mate gets off the train at the same door as me and three other people, we all make our way to the station exit, possibly over a footbridge. My mate and the three other people go through with no problems. There is no way barrier staff could prove that I am with my mate or any other person using the train, even if we were the only people on the entire station wearing Accrington Stanley replica football shirts.

Even if my mate could be identified, he could swear on his own life that I bought a ticket, he saw me do it (he wouldn't be lying either!), there is no way the barrier staff could prove otherwise, two against one.

Should I be let through without paying because I have a receipt? It is proof of payment after all. Bear in mind that unlike a bank statement, a receipt proves exactly which ticket I bought, the origin, destination, ticket type and fare paid, even where I bought it and from which clerk on which machine on which day and at what time. It's as good as a ticket right?
 

richw

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The op can prove they bought a ticket, the op can't possibly prove they bought the ticket they claim to have left on the train.
Should I be let through without paying because I have a receipt? It is proof of payment after all. Bear in mind that unlike a bank statement, a receipt proves exactly which ticket I bought, the origin, destination, ticket type and fare paid, even where I bought it and from which clerk on which machine on which day and at what time. It's as good as a ticket right?
Although going into more detail, a bank can provide a lot more details of the transaction on request, such as where you bought it, fare paid, terminal number of which the card transaction was incurred on, employee reference of employee logged onto terminal (each operator will have a unique login on the system, which will then link the operator to the card reader linked to that specific system), also the bank can provide the exact date and time down to a second. I dont think they can provide any of the remainder of info, however the TOC can then track the terminal number, purchase station date and time, down to an exact transaction and reveal what ticket was bought, this can also be narrowed down by whether the correct amount was paid for required ticket!
 

34D

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Although going into more detail, a bank can provide a lot more details of the transaction on request, such as where you bought it, fare paid, terminal number of which the card transaction was incurred on, employee reference of employee logged onto terminal (each operator will have a unique login on the system, which will then link the operator to the card reader linked to that specific system), also the bank can provide the exact date and time down to a second. I dont think they can provide any of the remainder of info, however the TOC can then track the terminal number, purchase station date and time, down to an exact transaction and reveal what ticket was bought, this can also be narrowed down by whether the correct amount was paid for required ticket!
The gap in the chain is that when the TOC examines tickets (either on train or at barriers) it doesn't record the numbers - which you could say is hardly the OPs fault.
 

LondonJohn

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Although going into more detail, a bank can provide a lot more details of the transaction on request, such as where you bought it, fare paid, terminal number of which the card transaction was incurred on, employee reference of employee logged onto terminal (each operator will have a unique login on the system, which will then link the operator to the card reader linked to that specific system), also the bank can provide the exact date and time down to a second. I dont think they can provide any of the remainder of info, however the TOC can then track the terminal number, purchase station date and time, down to an exact transaction and reveal what ticket was bought, this can also be narrowed down by whether the correct amount was paid for required ticket!
Indeed and it is likely that the transaction would have been captured under CCTV footage as well although how long this is kept for I would not know, so the op would be able to proove that he had a ticket not but still prosecuted for not showing it when asked.
 
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