Nexus Metro prosecution

Discussion in 'Disputes & Prosecutions' started by pendlewitch666, 1 Sep 2012.

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  1. pendlewitch666

    pendlewitch666 Member

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    I would like some advice about my daughter, who in January of this year was caught on the Metro Newcastle without a ticket. When spoken to by the inspector she stupidly gave a false name, then admitted that she had, Now at the time my daughter was 17 years old therefore a minor when this happened.
    She was given no paperwork off this inspector at the time of being caught, no penalty notice so that we could pay the fine straight away. As her parent I have not received anything from them notifying me that my daughter had been caught. My daughter turned 18 in April of this year, bearing in mind that we have received nothing in paperwork from the Metro such as the fine itself, reminders or anything, we automatically assumed that they were not going to do anything.
    My daughter has just received today 1 sept 2012 a letter which is a court summons for what happened back in January.
    Why were we not given a penalty notice to pay the fine at the beginning, why was I as her parent not informed of what happened as she was 17 at the time, why have I had no letters, reminders or anything from them before this and why has it took from January to September for this letter to arrive, surely she should have received a receipt off this inspector on the day it occured, but she was given nothing. Can anyone help!:D
     
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  3. 34D

    34D Established Member

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    I'm going to suggest that specialist legal support may be appropriate here.

    They have 6 months from the date of the offence to lay an 'information'. If the offence was end Jan, then they would need to have sent to the mags court by end July, and 5 weeks processing time over summer _could_ be reasonable.

    Or they may have gone over the time limit.....
     
  4. island

    island Established Member

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    Giving a penalty fare is at the discretion of the authorised collector. They may choose to proceed direct to prosecution if they wish.
    Did she give them your details? If not, then that's why!
    See above.
    Because Nexus is slow? I am not a lawyer, but I understand there is a six-month limit for a prosecution to be laid. The precise details are a little more complicated so this is not a guaranteed get-out.
    Not necessarily.
    We'll certainly try!
     
  5. pendlewitch666

    pendlewitch666 Member

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    The letter from Metro is dated 30 August 2012, the date on the summons is 19 July 2012.
    She gave a false address and name, but then gave him the correct name & address. This was her only first time doing this and she has not done it since, what are her best options to deal with this. Thank you for your replies so far.
     
  6. yorkie

    yorkie Administrator Staff Member Administrator

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    A Penalty Fare is a charge made for an honest mistake (in some cases the passenger may not be making an honest mistake but the Company has insufficient evidence), which is absolutely not the same thing as someone being prosecuted for an offence and a Court finding someone guilty and subsequently imposing a fine.

    These things can take many mounts unfortunately.

    A fine is by no means certain. A good solicitor, experienced with such matters, should be consulted. I would recommend you obtain legal advice.

    Does the letter state what offence she is alleged to have committed? Depending on the precise offence, it may or may not lead to a criminal record. Without knowing what the offence is, we cannot say.

    Some Companies will agree to an out of court settlement, but I have no idea if Nexus are among those that will do, and without knowing how solid their evidence is, what the alleged offence is, and what the details of the case are, it would be impossible to comment on whether or not an offer to reach such a settlement would be advisable or likely to succeed.
     
  7. pendlewitch666

    pendlewitch666 Member

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    On the summons it is stated that she failed to pay the correct fare and that when asked to give a name and address, gave a false one instead
     
  8. yorkie

    yorkie Administrator Staff Member Administrator

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    It's difficult to defend such an action, though it has been done in exceptional circumstances e.g. due to a change of address. A Leeds-based solicitor did successfully defend a case for Jennifer Burton of Leeds (details) and Northern were ridiculed in the media for taking the case to court. But it is unclear what mitigating circumstances there are in this case that could lead to a successful outcome. You need to obtain legal advice.

    It may also be possible to defend the case if Nexus have made any technical errors. Again, you need to obtain legal advice to determine if that could be the case.
    Good, in that case it's only the one offence she is being charged with, and for a first offence some Companies do accept a reasonable out of court settlement (though as mentioned earlier I do not know if Nexus do)
    Consult a solicitor, who can then advise.
     
  9. pendlewitch666

    pendlewitch666 Member

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    It does state on the letter, if we wish to discuss an alternative resolution of this matter to avoid a court appearance and possible fine and conviction the phone them before the court hearing. My daughter is 18, she has just finished school, A Levels and does not have a job but neither is she yet signing on for JSA. Would it be best for me as her mother to phone this number and see if we can sort something out.
     
  10. yorkie

    yorkie Administrator Staff Member Administrator

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    The problem is that I cannot answer that to say what is "best", however if you have concerns that you may not wish to see this matter drag on and you feel that you do not wish to incur legal expenses, then you may feel it is best to reach an out of court settlement.
     
  11. pendlewitch666

    pendlewitch666 Member

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    My daughter has just told me that the inspector gave her a £20 penalty and got her to sign it, but did not giver her anything back such as a receipt, what does that mean?
     
  12. island

    island Established Member

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    Did the alleged offence take place before or after the 19th of January?
     
  13. ainsworth74

    ainsworth74 Moderator Staff Member Moderator

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    If they have offered you the option of settling out of court I feel it would be wise to at the very least give it very serious consideration. You however would still need weigh the decision as to whether you think it worthwhile to simply agree to an out of court settlement or to incur the costs (and risks) of possibly taking this to court.

    Did she pay the penalty?
     
  14. pendlewitch666

    pendlewitch666 Member

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    The alleged offence occurred on the 18th January 2012
     
  15. yorkie

    yorkie Administrator Staff Member Administrator

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    It may be the case that Nexus are outside the 6 month limit and this might be grounds for a defence. But consult a solicitor if you wish to explore this possibility further.

    I don't know. A possibility is that she was issued with a Penalty Fare and the request for payment got lost somehow, and therefore, as she has not paid it, she is now being prosecuted for the original offence. You could try contacting Nexus to ask them for more information.
     
  16. pendlewitch666

    pendlewitch666 Member

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    She was not given anything to pay the penalty as she did not have £20 on her at the time, but it gave you so many days in which to pay it, but how can you when she received nothing from the inspector to show her the different ways to pay and how.
     
  17. yorkie

    yorkie Administrator Staff Member Administrator

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    I'm not at all certain she was issued with a Penalty Fare, but I would suggest contacting Nexus for clarification (but you may wish to seek the advice of a solicitor before contacting Nexus).

    However if she firmly believed she had been issued with a Penalty Fare, it would have been prudent to contact the Company as soon as possible to arrange payment.
     
  18. pendlewitch666

    pendlewitch666 Member

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    Can anyone give me an idea of how much it would be if i phone that number and settle this out of court. An estimate so I know what I would be looking at.
     
  19. Ferret

    Ferret Established Member

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    Having given false details, it would seem unlikely tthat the inspector would issue a Penalty Fare to be honest. That course of action usually leads straight to prosecution.
     
  20. yorkie

    yorkie Administrator Staff Member Administrator

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    Agreed. Though it is possible the false details were given during the issuing of the Penalty Fare. At which point the Penalty Fare may have been cancelled, and the matter referred for prosecution instead.

    We cannot provide an estimate. We do not know what evidence Nexus have exactly. We do not know the reason(s) for not holding a valid ticket in the first places or the circumstances in which this occurred. We do not know how quickly the false address error was corrected, whether it was done so voluntarily & instantly or after the first address was found to be incorrect. Also some Companies are more willing to settle than others. It may also depend on how much time Nexus have spent on the case.
     
  21. 34D

    34D Established Member

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    An easy way to explore this point first would be to call the magistrates court, ask them what date the information was laid, then if they say 19th July, tell them that the alleged offence happened on 18th January and is out of time, and ask for their advice.

    You'll find that court staff will be sticklers for the correct procedure.

    I recommend you make this call first, on Monday morning, then post the outcome of it back here, before deciding what to do next.

    Do NOT at this stage contact Nexus (in my opinion).
     
  22. pendlewitch666

    pendlewitch666 Member

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    Thank you for all your help. I think my best course of action and hopefully cheaper course of action is to ring up that number and see if we can sort it out without going to court. As my daughter is unable to pay for it, it will be up to me to pay but as I am on Disability Allowance I hope there will be flexible method of payment!!!
     
  23. michael769

    michael769 Established Member

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    If you are on benefit and your daughter is not in employment I would suggest contacting a Legal Aid solicitor who will be able to advise if she is eligible for legal aid. Most solicitors will offer a free initial consultation.

    I would agree that given the timescale it may be worth contacting the court and asking the clerk to check if the information was laid within the timescales set down by law.

    Unfortunately by giving false details she gave up any chance of getting let off with a penalty fare.
     
    Last edited: 1 Sep 2012
  24. pendlewitch666

    pendlewitch666 Member

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    Daft question, but do they take into account Bank holidays + weekends for this timescale?
     
  25. Monty

    Monty Established Member

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    I cannot really add much more to what has already been said, follow the advice given by Yorkie and Ferret for the best possible resolution to this dilemma.

    If this is what has been written on the summons it is unlikely she was issued a penalty fare, if she did sign anything it would have most likely had been the inspector's notes confirming she had no valid ticket when challenged and gave a false name was given when asked. I can't speak for the Tyne & Wear Metro but South West Trains/IRCAS tend to send more than one reminder for payment of a nil paid penalty fare, so I find it unlikely that all of the reminders would have gotten lost in the post.

    A question though to other forums users, is the statue of limitations for prosecutions really six months? Is there an actualy source for this? If there is it could help the OP massively. During my time as a RPI, SWT had taught to me to try and write up MG11 forms as quickly as possible, but had made no mention of a six month time limit. My other thought that could complicate matters is that there are two offences here:

    1. Failure to show a valid ticket on demand
    2. Supplying false details

    Do they share the same time limit?
     
    Last edited: 1 Sep 2012
  26. michael769

    michael769 Established Member

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    No - information must be laid before the court no later than exactly the 6th calendar month from the date of the offence. However it can take as long a 6 weeks from the laying of information for a summons to arrive ( and holidays can delay summons). You are very close to that point hence why it is worth checking, only the court can tell you.

    It is a bit of a long shot, I suspect that the prosecutors delayed filing the papers until your daughter hit 18, and they were careful to get the papers in at the very last minute.
     
  27. Ferret

    Ferret Established Member

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    If the papers hadn't been filed in time, I'd expect the Court to have said so, surely? Still, it may well be worth a try - they can only tell you that they were in time!;)

    As for settling out of Court, well, your first step is to find out what the fare should've been, as this still needs to be paid. Then, perhaps Nexus themselves will tell you what their admin charge is for dealing with this case.
     
  28. michael769

    michael769 Established Member

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    The UK has no statute of limitations (too much US TV).

    But the legal system does have a number of time limits - I recently gave details including references to the relevant statutes in this post?

    Note that Scotand has different (and often shorter) time limits.

    No - providing false details (conspiracy to pervert the course of justice) is an indictable offence and so no time limit applies if the matter is tried on indictment. The same would be the case for charges brought under the fraud act or the theft act. However this would require sending the matter to a crown court for a jury trial which may not be worth it for minor matters.

    EDIT - I should say that in the OP's case as the matter has been sent to the magistrates court for summary proceedings the 6 month limit applies to the entirety of he charge.
     
    Last edited: 1 Sep 2012
  29. pendlewitch666

    pendlewitch666 Member

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    My daughter has asked this question -
    Which would be best - Plead guilty and be fined by the courts or settle out of court with Nexus, as they have indicated on the letter, by phoning them up?
     
  30. michael769

    michael769 Established Member

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    It depends on the offence (which should be listed on the summons). Sect 5 of the Reguation of the Railways Act is a reportable offence which would result in a criminal record which could potentially have negative consequences of her future career and education prospects, in which case an out of court settlement would certainly be worth pursuing.

    Railway Byelaw 18 is not reportable so no criminal record, it is not possible to accurately advise if any fine would be less than an out of court settlement over the Internet - this is something that would need to be discussed with a solicitor. In the event that she decides to make a not guilty plea you may wish to be aware that there is an automatic 1/3 discount for any fine if te not guilty plea is made at the earliest opportunity.
     
  31. Monty

    Monty Established Member

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    Thanks for clarifying, but I don't have a TV! :oops:;)
     
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