Intention to prosecute - HELP!

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Mike2016

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On the 30th May me and my Fiance travelled into london to a festival in hatfield. Due to us both regularly using oyster to complete our train journeys we made the mistake of thinking, that due to their being a oyster touch pad at kings cross we could happily board our train to hatfield. We touched in then on arrival to hatfield was met by a hoard of ticket inspectors. All out to make some heft catches for the day i presume. On getting of we took our oysters out then where hastily called to one side ... no oyster touch out point ! Lovely
Both of us had our details taken at the time i only had cash on me so said i would either appeal or pay the fine as i wouldn't have enough to get home that night this was also the same for the other half.
We left the station after being asked a few questions such as did you intend to to travel with intent not to pay etc all answered honestly.
We both left the station empty handed not a name, company or even what i was being fined for to go against.

This weekend my other half received a lovely threatening letter stating intent to prosecute along with all the other lovely red highlighted threatening language.
The back page states reason for offence : entering a train with a ticket not entitling travel.

I have still yet to receive my letter as of yet. So the first question would be is how long do these take?

Secondly: Would there not be an appeal letter or chance to pay the fine letter issued before an intent to prosecute?

Thirdly: Does the above offence constitute to a recordable criminal offence or as ive seen on here doing my research is this associated with the Byelaw issue ?

I work in financial administration so am a little worried this could cause an issue but if i would to be charged with the same offence would this be disclosed on an CRB check ?

We intend to respond back to the letters with a sincere approach as we where in the wrong for getting on without checking how far the zone went out sadly
.Any tips on how this should be worded ?

The letter was headed with Southern and Thameslink if my memory serves me right.

Would appreciate any useful help on this issue.
Many thanks guys.
 
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crehld

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Letters of the sort you've received usually (although not always) invite you to respond to give your side of the story. Furthermore, most train companies are receptive to resolving the matter outside of court upon receipt of a sincere apology and genuine offer to resolve the matter. Therefore your strategy of writing a sincere letter is definitely the way forward. Your letter should include three things:

1. A statement of the facts of the situation (date, time, journey details, etc.).
2. A recognition that it was a mistake on your part not to check the Oyster validity at Hatfield and that this meant you travelled without a valid ticket. From this a commitment to be more careful in future to ensure you always travel with a valid ticket.
3. An offer to pay any outstanding fares due, plus an offer to cover any administrative costs that might have been incurred in trying to address the matter.

Keep your letter short and concise. Keep it business like. Do not waffle. There are examples on other threads in this section of the forum, so do have a look to get a feel for what to include and how to write it. You can post a draft up here for feedback if you're comfortable doing this.

In terms of time for a resolution, experiences vary greatly. Expect between a couple of weeks to up to four months.

In terms of criminal records and the like, it looks like they're intending on prosecuting you under the railway byelaws (specifically 18(1)). A conviction here doesn't carry a criminal record - see our Fares and Ticketing guide for the details. Of course your sincere letter will hopefully mean that you resolve the matter without it getting to court anyway.
 

najaB

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To answer your specific questions:
I have still yet to receive my letter as of yet. So the first question would be is how long do these take?
They have up to six months to lay papers before the Court if that is what they want to do. Six weeks to a couple of months is typical.
Secondly: Would there not be an appeal letter or chance to pay the fine letter issued before an intent to prosecute?
Your reply to this letter is your opportunity to give the TOC your side of the story and explain why you shouldn't be prosecuted. Follow the excellent advice given by crehld above and you should be able to avoid troubling the Courts.
Thirdly: Does the above offence constitute to a recordable criminal offence or as ive seen on here doing my research is this associated with the Byelaw issue ?
That wording matches the Railway Byelaws, so a prosecution would not be recordable.
 

furlong

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General advice is to attempt to achieve a settlement using the approach suggested here first, and then if you feel there are any further matters arising from the incident that you want to take further deal with them separately afterwards. For example, how was it you incorrectly thought it was valid? If there were not clear announcements on the train and signs before boarding to indicate the limit of the Oyster area, that might be a matter to take up with the train company / your MP / the ORR / DfT.
--- old post above --- --- new post below ---
That wording matches the Railway Byelaws, so a prosecution would not be recordable.

(Not quite so straightforward if the Oyster card was validated and had sufficient funds and the train stopped within the zonal area. The offence charged could be more serious.)
 

Clip

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General advice is to attempt to achieve a settlement using the approach suggested here first, and then if you feel there are any further matters arising from the incident that you want to take further deal with them separately afterwards. For example, how was it you incorrectly thought it was valid? If there were not clear announcements on the train and signs before boarding to indicate the limit of the Oyster area, that might be a matter to take up with the train company / your MP / the ORR / DfT.

Kings Cross does have signs and posters up on its concourse informing of the oyster boundries and as ever it really is up to the passenger to ensure they have a correct and valid ticket including going to somewhere that Oyster is valid on BEFORE they commence their journey.

Ignorance is no defence and neither is trying to introduce external factors, which you outlined above, into the case involving the OP which could be seen as trying to create an 'out' for both them and their missus.
 

jon0844

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A RPI at Hatfield said after giving a lady a penalty fare for turning up with an Oyster (who appeared genuine, as she had tried to tap out on the gate and seemed confused) that a fair few people do apparently win appeals for this.

I am not sure how/why, and he told me not her, but perhaps the fact that not all trains warn people where the Oyster boundary ends (only 317s and obviously only when turned on) and the posters could be missed does give some people a slim chance.

The key is obviously to get offered and accept a penalty fare as this lady did, not allow it to become a letter in the post.
 

Andrew1395

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Seen people with a oyster at Brighton trying to get through the gates. Member if staff explained it was not valid and simply sold them a couple of tickets. Consistency is not required across the network, but many people do seem genuinely confused. Going to an event or a day out makes that are more likely occurrence IMHO. Best just explain the facts and see what happens.
 

najaB

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Seen people with a oyster at Brighton trying to get through the gates. Member if staff explained it was not valid and simply sold them a couple of tickets. Consistency is not required across the network, but many people do seem genuinely confused.
It's very much that each case has to be judged on its own merits - along with other considerations, Brighton is far enough outside the Oyster area that it is less likely to be a chancer and more likely to be a 'honest mistake' by someone who just doesn't understand how the system works.
Best just explain the facts and see what happens.
This is the best advice we can give you - being honest, respectful and forthright in your dealings with the train company is the best way to get a satisfactory outcome.
 

island

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Seen people with a oyster at Brighton trying to get through the gates. Member if staff explained it was not valid and simply sold them a couple of tickets.

That's probably just because the member of staff they saw was not an Authorised Collector.
 
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