Just found out about RoRA 5.3 Conviction - Please advise!

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SillySod

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Hi everyone,

I'm hoping someone will be able to give me some advice on how to deal with the awful situation I have got myself in. First off - I know I'm in this situation through my own stupid actions! I just want to know how I should proceed now.

In 2014 I walked past a ticket guard with having a ticket - I flashed an old ticket as I walked past. Basically I did this as the I was late for a new job & stressed and the que for people buying tickets was ridiculously long and so a made a stupid decision in a couple of seconds to just carry on walking. I got caught obviously, and gave the address of the where I was staying at the time which was with a friend.

A week later I tried buying a ticket at the station where I got off - as I didn't realise this wasn't allowed! I've qued up and bought tickets at the arrival stations before with no issue. Anyway, the guard was pretty nice and asked for a contact address as I was no longer staying with at my friends (long story) I gave my parents address which was where I was then and still am living.
The next week I got to arrival station and realised I had forgotten my monthly pass ticket so ended up in the same situation. Stupid I know, but I was going through a pretty stressful time when all this happened as I just wasn't on top of things. Gave my parents address again as obviously it was where I was living then.

Anyway, I paid the fines that were sent for the last two incidents. But didn't think anymore about the first incident, and didn't hear anything as obviously letters were going to an old address.

Roll forward to now - and I've got a bailiff letter for a fine from the first incident. Phoned up the bailiffs and I've been convicted of RoRA 5.3 criminal offence in my absence at court. So what can I do?

Can I make a statutory declaration as I didn't know about the court summons? Or can I not as it's my own stupid fault I didn't know about it for not keeping track of mail sent to a temporary address?

If I can make a statutory declaration and have the case reopened is there any chance at all of trying to make an out of court settlement with the rail company?
Will the reopened case now be linked to the two following fines at my current address and make the situation even worse? Will they be able to open any new charges against me - in light of new evidence or something like that?

I do understand I'm in the wrong here. I made a stupid decision when I was going through a bad time, but what is the best way to deal with it now?

Thanks
 
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Puffing Devil

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Can I make a statutory declaration as I didn't know about the court summons?

If you truly did not know about the summons, you can make the declaration.

If I can make a statutory declaration and have the case reopened is there any chance at all of trying to make an out of court settlement with the rail company?
There's always a chance. In this case, I would suggest a small chance

Will the reopened case now be linked to the two following fines at my current address and make the situation even worse?

They were not fines as the court sees them, they were either Penalty Fares or other out of court settlements.

Will they be able to open any new charges against me - in light of new evidence or something like that?

If they have evidence, they may bring new charges. What else have you done?
 

najaB

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I do understand I'm in the wrong here. I made a stupid decision when I was going through a bad time, but what is the best way to deal with it now?
Since you have been found guilty there are only two ways to deal with it:
  • Pay the fine and accept that you'll have a criminal record for 1 year.
  • Make a statutory declaration to the effect that you didn't know about the case.
The former is the lower risk option, as long as the fact that you'll have a blemish on any CRB checks for a year won't cause you any issues.

The latter is higher risk as, unless you have some evidence that you haven't yet posted, it is likely that the TOC will simply proceed with the prosecution and you'll be found guilty again. I really don't think they would be that amenable to settling.
 
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Puffing Devil

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Since you have been found guilty there are only two ways to deal with it:
  • Pay the fine and accept that you'll have a criminal record for 1 year.
  • Make a statutory declaration to the effect that you didn't know about the case.
The former is the lower risk option, as long as the fact that you'll have a blemish on any CRB checks for a year won't cause you any issues.

The latter is higher risk as, unless you have some evidence that you haven't yet posted, it is likely that the TOC will simply proceed with the prosecution and you'll be found guilty again. I really don't think they would be that amenable to settling.

Poor advice, unless the OP is on an income of over £660 pw, as the fine would have been based on £440 p/w without a 1/3 discount in their absence. Reopening and pleading guilty will give the op the chance to plead guilty and gain a discount of 1/3 on the fine.
 

Jonfun

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Since you have been found guilty there are only two ways to deal with it:
  • Pay the fine and accept that you'll have a criminal record for 1 year.
  • Make a statutory declaration to the effect that you didn't know about the case.
The former is the lower risk option, as long as the fact that you'll have a blemish on any CRB checks for a year won't cause you any issues.

The latter is higher risk as, unless you have some evidence that you haven't yet posted, it is likely that the TOC will simply proceed with the prosecution and you'll be found guilty again. I really don't think they would be that amenable to settling.

Plead guilty (or be found guilty) and you'll have a criminal record for *life*. It doesn't have to be declared after a set amount of time, but that doesn't mean it will cease to exist.
 

Puffing Devil

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Plead guilty (or be found guilty) and you'll have a criminal record for *life*. It doesn't have to be declared after a set amount of time, but that doesn't mean it will cease to exist.

And you'd recommend what alternative course of action as the OP has admitted the offence in his first post?
 

SillySod

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Thank so much for your replies.

My first reaction was to just immediately pay the fine, as I did think the TOC would just prosecute again if the case was reopened anyway. So why prolong the inevitable! And I accept my guilt in the matter so just want to end it as soon as possible really.
But then I got myself really stressed after reading about the type of criminal conviction it is. Will it stop me from ever travelling to Australia? I have family there so this is really concerning me. Also I will have to declare the conviction in my current job and I'm concerned that I could get fired over it? That's why I'm wondering if I should do a stat dec and do anything I can for the slim chance of an out of court settlement.

Puffing Devil - I haven't done anything else other than the other two fines I had paid! I was wondering if they would be able to use those as evidence to charge me for giving a false address or would all 3 in combination be grounds to open a fraud case?! Will any of my details be passed on to the train company after I pay this fine?

Thank you.
 

najaB

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Plead guilty (or be found guilty) and you'll have a criminal record for *life*. It doesn't have to be declared after a set amount of time, but that doesn't mean it will cease to exist.
It will cease to be reported on a standard CRB check after twelve months which, for the vast majority of people, is equivalent to not existing.
 

Jonfun

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And you'd recommend what alternative course of action as the OP has admitted the offence in his first post?

Recommending a course of action is nowt to do with me. I don't really care what the OP has or has not done. NajaB's post was wrong. A criminal record does not cease to exist after a year and it is incorrect to tell the OP that it does.
 

Puffing Devil

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Recommending a course of action is nowt to do with me. I don't really care what the OP has or has not done. NajaB's post was wrong. A criminal record does not cease to exist after a year and it is incorrect to tell the OP that it does.

I read your post as suggesting that the OP should not plead guilty, despite their admission. The vagaries of the Rehabilitation of Offenders act and other disclosure isn't really relevant here, unless your suggesting the OP should adopt some tactic to avoid a conviction.
 

DaveNewcastle

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Traditionally, when a person who has been convicted without knowledge of the proceedings makes their Statutory Declaration, then the processs is simply put back to the point in time where the Summons was being issued, a time before the person has made their plea of 'guilty' or 'not guilty', and before the Prosecution has had the chance to respond by calling any Witnesses.
It the Declaration is made in front of a Solicitor, then that is still going to be the procedure.

But in attempts to speed up the Court process, there is a move towards asking people who make that Statutory Declaration in the Court's Clerks Office immediately how they want to plea: 'guilty' or 'not guilty'.
If your Court adopts that 'streamlined' approach, and if your plea is going to be 'guilty', then you do not create much of an opportunity to reach an out-of-court settlement, because the Court has all they need to proceed to conviction. Or, if your plea is going to be 'not guilty', then you are already indicating to the Court that time must be allocated for a contested hearing, and you might find that it incurs more costs from the Railway Company's legal team - but if so, then it WILL provide the opportunity to reach an Out-of-Court settlement - but It doesn't seem to me that you are in a strong position for pleading 'not guilty', with all the increased penalties for being convicted after a 'not guilty' plea.

As Puffing Devil has indicated, even having your assessment of means (income and outgoings) will mean that an early 'guilty' plea will put you in a better position than where you are now, which is a fine following 'guilty in absence'.
 

Puffing Devil

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Puffing Devil - I haven't done anything else other than the other two fines I had paid! I was wondering if they would be able to use those as evidence to charge me for giving a false address or would all 3 in combination be grounds to open a fraud case?! Will any of my details be passed on to the train company after I pay this fine?

I think you're asking here if the previous two incidents will be linked with the current matter with the bailiff. With the limited information we have, I would say that the other two incidents are closed, you have paid and there will be no further action.

For the current matter, the train company will know about it when it goes back to court. There should be no reason for them to go back and look at their previous interactions with you. Settle this matter and that should be the end of it.


Traditionally, when a person who has been convicted without knowledge of the proceedings makes their Statutory Declaration, then the processs is simply put back to the point in time where the Summons was being issued, a time before the person has made their plea of 'guilty' or 'not guilty', and before the Prosecution has had the chance to respond by calling any Witnesses.
It the Declaration is made in front of a Solicitor, then that is still going to be the procedure.

But in attempts to speed up the Court process, there is a move towards asking people who make that Statutory Declaration in the Court's Clerks Office immediately how they want to plea: 'guilty' or 'not guilty'.
If your Court adopts that 'streamlined' approach, and if your plea is going to be 'guilty', then you do not create much of an opportunity to reach an out-of-court settlement, because the Court has all they need to proceed to conviction. Or, if your plea is going to be 'not guilty', then you are already indicating to the Court that time must be allocated for a contested hearing, and you might find that it incurs more costs from the Railway Company's legal team - but if so, then it WILL provide the opportunity to reach an Out-of-Court settlement - but It doesn't seem to me that you are in a strong position for pleading 'not guilty', with all the increased penalties for being convicted after a 'not guilty' plea.

As Puffing Devil has indicated, even having your assessment of means (income and outgoings) will mean that an early 'guilty' plea will put you in a better position than where you are now, which is a fine following 'guilty in absence'.

To Dave's point: If you want to try to reach an out of court settlement, you may be better going to a solicitor to complete the declaration to give you chance to contact the train company with a view to an agreement. However, they will then look most likely look at your history with them before they make a decision. You do not have a very good history, though there is always hope.

It will do you no harm to contact the train company. The worst that will happen is that you will be back in court and you can plead guilty to the offence which you admitted in your first post. You will get a discount for the early guilty plea.

Remember, you only have 21 days from the time you found out about the fine - the letter from the Bailiff - to make the declaration and get it to the court. The clock is ticking.
 

SillySod

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I think you're asking here if the previous two incidents will be linked with the current matter with the bailiff. With the limited information we have, I would say that the other two incidents are closed, you have paid and there will be no further action.

For the current matter, the train company will know about it when it goes back to court. There should be no reason for them to go back and look at their previous interactions with you. Settle this matter and that should be the end of it.

Thanks for your advice. Yes I was thinking that reopening the case could cause the rail company to look at the other two (paid!) fines in conjunction with this offence and then start asking why I had given different addresses in such short space of time, and as it was a friends address I can't prove actually residency there so would this be grounds for them to try and charge me with a new offence of false address?
 

Puffing Devil

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would this be grounds for them to try and charge me with a new offence of false address?

I've never seen this in all my experience. I'm sure that someone could find some offence that you could be charged with; though if they have you on the hook for the failure to pay and your are either looking to settle or pleading guilty in court, I can see no incentive for them to do so. As it's two years ago, the matter may well be time barred anyway.
 

ian959

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But then I got myself really stressed after reading about the type of criminal conviction it is. Will it stop me from ever travelling to Australia? I have family there so this is really concerning me.

The question asked on Australian visa applications is:

Has any applicant ever been convicted of an offence in any country (including any conviction which is now removed from official records)?

You would certainly have to say YES to the question, however in my experience they will ask what the offence was and it is unlikely to be an issue for visa approval.
 

Stigy

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Technically, yes. Practically, not so much.
I thought even basic DBS checks showed up all recorded convictions until they're classed as spent? So many agencies these days are vetting their staff to a higher standard, too, (DBS checks are, to be fair, often a pointless task due to what they check and reveal!) so I think most people would be concerned about such a conviction in general. Police vetting is a prime example and all forces these days check PNC entries for such offences. It's much the same with HMP and other Civil Service roles, too.
 

najaB

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I thought even basic DBS checks showed up all recorded convictions until they're classed as spent?
Yes they do. Hence why I said they would have 'a record' (meaning that it will show on a DBS check) for twelve months.

So many agencies these days are vetting their staff to a higher standard, too...
As I understand it, only 'relevant' spent convictions are revealed on an enhanced check, so it is unlikely a RoRA conviction would show up - and that's assuming that the role is one for which an enhanced check is appropriate.
 

Stigy

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Yes they do. Hence why I said they would have 'a record' (meaning that it will show on a DBS check) for twelve months.
Sorry my mistake....had in in my head that such a conviction takes five years to become spent :D

As I understand it, only 'relevant' spent convictions are revealed on an enhanced check, so it is unlikely a RoRA conviction would show up - and that's assuming that the role is one for which an enhanced check is appropriate.
Maybe so on an Enhanced DBS, however the checks I refer to are internal police or government checks. For example my vetting clearance takes in to account financial history and family etc. Also it's exempt from ROA. More agencies use this method these days including the MoD, Police Service, FSA etc. Admittedly this isn't carried out on a lot of ordinary professions and most do, at best use DBS.
 

broadgage

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Plead guilty (or be found guilty) and you'll have a criminal record for *life*. It doesn't have to be declared after a set amount of time, but that doesn't mean it will cease to exist.

Agree, for most everyday purposes a criminal record becomes no longer relevant after a certain time, from a year upwards depending on the type of offence.
For most jobs a "spent" conviction need not be declared and is no concern of a present or prospective employer.

The conviction does however remain on record somewhere indefinatly and is relevant in certain cases such as if applying to work for the security services, or trying to obtain a firearms licence.
 
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