How else can I prove my innocence?

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sb2jan

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Hey everyone,

I'm new here so not entirely sure how this works but I saw a lot of helpful posts in other threads so thought I'd ask if anyone has any advice about my issue.

Due to the station I'm getting off at not having any barriers, having travelled for 2 years on the same train, same platform, I did what I always do and left my train ticket after it was checked by the Officer on the train. Just as my luck would have it, out of nowhere, there were officers at the station I got off at asking for tickets!! Obviously I tried explaining to them that my ticket was checked on the train and even gave them the Coach number and seat i was sat. The officer took down my details and today I have received a prosecution letter saying they're looking into whether or not to have court proceedings and have asked whether there is anything I can provide in my defence. I've sent them my copy of bank statement which shows that I paid as it clearly shows the train service and station name. However, the date the transaction comes up as is the day after as bank statements always have the date coming up a day late to when the card is actually used, if that makes sense. Anyway, I printed off quite a few pages just to show them that I pay regularly and also sent them a slightly angry [couldn't help myself] letter along with it.

My question is, what do you think will be the next step? Will I be summoned to court? I have no other way of proving I paid except my bank statements. Could I ask for CCTV footage or something? I have a professional career and cannot afford any CRB records especially when I'm innocent!! Many thanks for reading and any advice.
 
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michael769

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Unfortunately the Railway Byelaws require that you show a valid ticket when required to do so by railway staff. This requirement continues to apply even if you have shown it previously.

By failing to show a ticket when required to do so you have committed an offence, even if you can provide evidence that you had a valid ticket that will not change the fact that you failed to show it when required by law. This seems very harsh - and indeed it is, unfortunately it is the nature of this strict liability offence - that an innocent mistake can result in someone unwittingly committing a criminal offence.

It is unfortunate you did not ask for advice here in first as it may be that you have inadvertently incriminated yourself. Some of the experts on the forum would have been happy to proof read your response and help you maximise the chances of getting the ToC to drop the matter.

As to next steps the ToC's prosecutions department will review what you have sent to decide if there is a reasonable prospect of a successful prosecution and that it is in the ToCs interests to proceed. Based on the details you have provided the former test is most likely to pass so your immediate hope is that the information you have sent convinces the ToC's prosecutors that it is not appropriate to proceed in this instance, I would like to say this is likely to happen, but I fear it will be down to the individual ToC and their prosecutor.

If they do decide to proceed it may still be possible to avoid prosecution by offering the ToC an out of court settlement, others will be best placed to advise on how much and at what point such an offer is made.

The good(ish) news is that this offence is not recordable and should not result in a criminal record, nor show up on a CRB check - unless the court makes a mistake.

I'm sorry I cannot be a little more encouraging.
 
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Ferret

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How can I prove my innocence?
With grave difficulty! Why leave your ticket on the train?! Throw it in a bin at the station maybe, but I don't get why people leave their tickets on the train. Still, that paragraph won't help you much!

Anyway, you're off to a reasonable start by sending them banking statements showing you regularly purchase tickets. The problem is byelaw 18 requires you to show a valid ticket when asked to do so. The train company could argue that for all they know, you passed that ticket on to somebody else.

I'd wait and see what the train company send next. The snotty letter might just go in your favour (I'd never suggest sending one of these though as it's just as likely to get their backs up) - it depends who reads it. If they do intend to prosecute, come back and ask again.

 

sb2jan

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Unfortunately the Railway Byelaws require that you show a valid ticket when required to do so by railway staff. This requirement continues to apply even if you have shown it previously.

By failing to show a ticket when required to do so you have committed an offence, even if you can provide evidence that you had a valid ticket that will not change the fact that you failed to show it when required by law. This seems very harsh - and indeed it is, unfortunately it is the nature of this strict liability offence - that an innocent mistake can result in someone unwittingly committing a criminal offence.

It is unfortunate you did not ask for advice here in first as it may be that you have inadvertently incriminated yourself. Some of the experts on the forum would have been happy to proof read your response and help you maximise the chances of getting the ToC to drop the matter.

As to next steps the ToC's prosecutions department will review what you have sent to decide if there is a reasonable prospect of a successful prosecution and that it is in the ToCs interests to proceed. Based on the details you have provided the former test is most likely to pass so your immediate hope is that the information you have sent convinces the ToC's prosecutors that it is not appropriate to proceed in this instance, I would like to say this is likely to happen, but I fear it will be down to the individual ToC and their prosecutor.

If they do decide to proceed it may still be possible to avoid prosecution by offering the ToC an out of court settlement, others will be best placed to advise on how much and at what point such an offer is made.

The good(ish) news is that this offence is not recordable and should not result in a criminal record, nor show up on a CRB check - unless the court makes a mistake.

I'm sorry I cannot be a little more encouraging.

Thank you very much for the reply. I haven't yet sent the letter. I haven't been strictly 'angry' in my response but I have detailed everything and have included a few pages of my bank statement to show I'm a regular paying customer. Though I did have a slight rant at the end about how the system was unfair to honest, fare-paying customers who have chosen to travel by train despite the higher costs compared to other forms of public transport. I'm a student and I am so upset this has happened to me as taking the bus would have been so much cheaper for me. Yet I pay the extra £500+ every year just to get to my destination quicker and am subject to such humiliation. I do realise that I'm in the wrong but it just seems so unfair to criminalise innocents in such manner due to a few petty, fare-evading pathetic people. I'm sorry, I'm ranting again! Thank you again for the help, I don't mind an out of court settlement, I'm assuming it will be around £300. I'm so relieved there is nothing CRB related involved!
--- old post above --- --- new post below ---
With grave difficulty! Why leave your ticket on the train?! Throw it in a bin at the station maybe, but I don't get why people leave their tickets on the train. Still, that paragraph won't help you much!

Anyway, you're off to a reasonable start by sending them banking statements showing you regularly purchase tickets. The problem is byelaw 18 requires you to show a valid ticket when asked to do so. The train company could argue that for all they know, you passed that ticket on to somebody else.

I'd wait and see what the train company send next. The snotty letter might just go in your favour (I'd never suggest sending one of these though as it's just as likely to get their backs up) - it depends who reads it. If they do intend to prosecute, come back and ask again.

I know, it seems absurd! :cry: But I always do it, as silly as it may sound, to clear up my ticket holder, so that its empty when I purchase the next ticket the following day. Its most definitely a habit I have stopped! Thank you for your reply! :)
 

Urban Gateline

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Is it possible that you could mention the station you alighted at or at least the TOC (train operating company) you travelled with?
 

Ferret

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Thank you very much for the reply. I haven't yet sent the letter. I haven't been strictly 'angry' in my response but I have detailed everything and have included a few pages of my bank statement to show I'm a regular paying customer. Though I did have a slight rant at the end about how the system was unfair to honest, fare-paying customers who have chosen to travel by train despite the higher costs compared to other forms of public transport. I'm a student and I am so upset this has happened to me as taking the bus would have been so much cheaper for me. Yet I pay the extra £500+ every year just to get to my destination quicker and am subject to such humiliation. I do realise that I'm in the wrong but it just seems so unfair to criminalise innocents in such manner due to a few petty, fare-evading pathetic people. I'm sorry, I'm ranting again! Thank you again for the help, I don't mind an out of court settlement, I'm assuming it will be around £300. I'm so relieved there is nothing CRB related involved!
Right, do me a favour then and don't send the letter! A rant about the bus being cheaper and humiliation may not help!!!!! Edit that out and maybe say something a little diplomatic about you understanding the need to catch out fare evaders, but that you aren't one of them. I presume you have no history with train companies (we can check, as somebody I caught this week found to his cost!), so point that out too.

Yes, you are technically in the wrong, and i'm not one for giving false hope where there is none, but wait and see what the TOC come back with before you go down the out of Court route. It may well be the train company drop this one - it really will be down to the individual dealing with the matter.

 

Urban Gateline

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Ermmm I don't know whether I should,sorry :( Why do you ask?
Because some members on here have had previous experience with certain train companies and may be able to help you with your letter of response. There's many well documented threads about FCC on the forum for example ;)
 

sb2jan

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Right, do me a favour then and don't send the letter! A rant about the bus being cheaper and humiliation may not help!!!!! Edit that out and maybe say something a little diplomatic about you understanding the need to catch out fare evaders, but that you aren't one of them. I presume you have no history with train companies (we can check, as somebody I caught this week found to his cost!), so point that out too.

Yes, you are technically in the wrong, and i'm not one for giving false hope where there is none, but wait and see what the TOC come back with before you go down the out of Court route. It may well be the train company drop this one - it really will be down to the individual dealing with the matter.

No, never had a history! I wish they would check! They should also check CCTV footage or something. Ok, I'll change the wording. Thank you so much :) I really hope they drop the matter!
 

Ferret

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No, never had a history! I wish they would check! They should also check CCTV footage or something. Ok, I'll change the wording. Thank you so much :) I really hope they drop the matter!
Depends if the train is fitted with it, and if the recording hasn't been overwritten! I wouldn't be pinning my hopes on the CCTV side of things if I'm honest!
 

michael769

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Right, do me a favour then and don't send the letter!
This I good news. I feel I must emphasise two things to you, firstly that it is incredibly easy for someone to inadvertently incriminate themselves, often without even realising. Secondly that your response is the best chance you have to convince the ToC that it is in neither their own nor the public interest to proceed in this case. For this reason it is important that you get someone to proof read your response.

Some of our experts in this area will not doubt join the thread in due course and will be happy to proof read your response via PM (don't post it in the public forum!), and will be able to help you with the wording to maximise your chances of a positive outcome. In particular I would recommend the users DaveNewcastle and Yorkie as a source of advice in this area.

While it is prudent to respond in a timely manner you do not have to rush and have a few days in which to get it organised - so there should be plenty of time for the necessary members to see your thread.
 

sb2jan

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This I good news. I feel I must emphasise two things to you, firstly that it is incredibly easy for someone to inadvertently incriminate themselves, often without even realising. Secondly that your response is the best chance you have to convince the ToC that it is in neither their own nor the public interest to proceed in this case. For this reason it is important that you get someone to proof read your response.

Some of our experts in this area will not doubt join the thread in due course and will be happy to proof read your response via PM (don't post it in the public forum!), and will be able to help you with the wording to maximise your chances of a positive outcome. In particular I would recommend the users DaveNewcastle and Yorkie as a source of advice in this area.

While it is prudent to respond in a timely manner you do not have to rush and have a few days in which to get it organised - so there should be plenty of time for the necessary members to see your thread.
Thank you! My Dad wanted to post the letter tomorrow itself, it seems I should perhaps wait before I rush it as could always send it Next-day recorded delivery. You guys have been so much help!

I've just seen this ---> http://www.guardian.co.uk/uk/2012/may/22/train-fare-dodging-innocent-passengers

Glad to know I'm not the only one :(
 

IanXC

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Regarding the proof of payment, I'll leave others to comment on how much use this is, but you should be able to obtain a print from your bank of the specific transaction details for the ticket you purchased.

This would show the date of the purchase, and the time that either it was authorised on the train or the point that the guard's card terminal sent the transaction in. Plus a collection of technical details which the TOC could, if they choose as I understand it use to identify the specific ticket you purchased.
 

sb2jan

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Regarding the proof of payment, I'll leave others to comment on how much use this is, but you should be able to obtain a print from your bank of the specific transaction details for the ticket you purchased.

This would show the date of the purchase, and the time that either it was authorised on the train or the point that the guard's card terminal sent the transaction in. Plus a collection of technical details which the TOC could, if they choose as I understand it use to identify the specific ticket you purchased.
Oh I see, how do I do that? Do I ring up the bank directly? At the moment on the statement, it only tells me the date and amount and the name of the train service and station. Its an extremely small station so trains only depart to 2 destinations before passengers have to change stations. The amount shown on my statement I believe can only be for a specific journey and this should be clear if they check with the local station.
 

GadgetMan

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I appreciate you leave the ticket on the train, but do you not keep the bank card transaction receipt for your own records? As this will show the time/date you purchased your ticket (assuming it was printed immediately prior to travel) and the station it was purchased at.
 

sb2jan

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I appreciate you leave the ticket on the train, but do you not keep the bank card transaction receipt for your own records? As this will show the time/date you purchased your ticket (assuming it was printed immediately prior to travel) and the station it was purchased at.
I don't sorry, I don't even keep them when they're printed. I know, I know, I need a massive slap !!! :(
 

IanXC

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Oh I see, how do I do that? Do I ring up the bank directly?
You would do best to visit a branch I would suggest, its a pretty unusual thing to provide so I doubt a call centre would be in a position to help.
 

Kentish Paul

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I don't understand why you (someone who seems to be a regular traveller ((same train for 2 years)) would dispose of tickets before exiting the system.
I see your station has no barriers and can only guess that this was the first time in two years that inspectors have appeared.

Best of luck with your appeal.
 
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sb2jan

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I don't understand why you (someone who seems to be a regular traveller ((same train for 2 years)) would dispose of tickets before exiting the system.
I see your station has no barriers and can only guess that this was the first time in two years that inspectors have appeared.

Best of luck with your appeal.

Yeah first time in 2 years! In fact its probably the first time EVER :(
--- old post above --- --- new post below ---
You know you can get season tickets right?
Yes I do but I only had to go into university for my exams and not daily that month so I chose to buy the tickets on the day.
 

Yew

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With EMT it's not uncommon for a guard to say a barrier check is in operation (for example robin hood line trains to Nottingham) where any announcements made, and could this work in the OP's favour?
 

sb2jan

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With EMT it's not uncommon for a guard to say a barrier check is in operation (for example robin hood line trains to Nottingham) where any announcements made, and could this work in the OP's favour?
Ermm sorry, what is OP?

Ok I might as well say it is the East Midlands Trains and no they didn't make any announcement on the train like they sometimes do at some stations. Should I mention this in my letter?
--- old post above --- --- new post below ---
Because some members on here have had previous experience with certain train companies and may be able to help you with your letter of response. There's many well documented threads about FCC on the forum for example ;)
I might as well say its the East Midlands Trains.
 

Ferret

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With EMT it's not uncommon for a guard to say a barrier check is in operation (for example robin hood line trains to Nottingham) where any announcements made, and could this work in the OP's favour?
I'm afraid not. Guards are often told not to announce when barriers are on................or off!
 

reb0118

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I'm afraid not. Guards are often told not to announce when barriers are on................or off!
But we are instructed (In Scotland anyway) to announce the fixed automatic barriers and to remind passengers to retain their tickets for these.

In the case of random blocks we do not announce them for a good few reasons as Ferret has insinuated. (I'm sure you can think why). However one of the best ones is that in the main the revenue bods just don't tell us either in the first place.

Random blocks are just that - random but it still amazes me how many tickets are left on the train - even at stations with fixed barriers.

Truly a "throwaway society" - Good luck.
 
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sb2jan

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Well, we're trying to catch faredodgers!!!!!!!!
I knowww!!! I think it would hurt me less if I actually deserved what I was getting. Its just the thought of paying of hundreds of pounds despite having bought a ticket! Aaaaaaaagh :( I'm sorry, I'm just venting my frustration at this whole situation.
 

Yew

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sorry, what is OP?

It means original poster, in this case you. Don't worry it took me months to work that out. I would suggest waiting for the thoughts of someone more experienced as it of you should include it in the letter though.
 

Ferret

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I knowww!!! I think it would hurt me less if I actually deserved what I was getting. Its just the thought of paying of hundreds of pounds despite having bought a ticket! Aaaaaaaagh :( I'm sorry, I'm just venting my frustration at this whole situation.
Well, based on the facts you've offered us here, you clearly don't deserve a prosecution, even though you are guilty of the offence if you take the technical view. My opinion is that you'll have to rely on the discretion of EMT's prosecution department. Please keep us updated.
 
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