northern rail - fare evasion - advice needed please

Discussion in 'Disputes & Prosecutions' started by muddypuddles54, 26 May 2015.

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  1. muddypuddles54

    muddypuddles54 New Member

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    In march last year i went to get the train home from work. When i went to purchase my ticket from the desk in the station nobody was there. My train came and i boarded with the intention of purchasing my ticket from the conductor as i have done previously on many occassions. However the train was crowded so the conductor couldnt come round nor could i get to him so i was unable to purchase a ticket. When i arrived at my destination the inspectors took my details after i explained why i didnt have a ticket. They didnt give me chance to buy one from them, just said not to worry i will receive a letter asking me to explain what happened. When this has happened previously i have always been sold a ticket except for one occassion where i was given a notice to pay the rail fare over the phone within 21 days, which i did.
    i moved house a few weeks later and hadnt heard anything from them so i emailed them through their website a few days before advising of my change of address. I received an automated response advising they would be in touch. Around 3 weeks later i still hadnt heard anything so i again emailed through there website advising of my change of address and that due to the lack of correspondence from them that i assumed the matter was closed. Again i received an automated response from them, this time from their customer relations team with a reference number advising they would be in touch within 20 days. That was the last i heard until i received a text a couple of weeks ago from hmcs regarding an unpaid fine. I immediately called the court and was advised it was with regards to an unpaid rail fine. I advised the court i was unaware of any proceedings or fine. As it was the first i had heard of it they advised i could make a statutory declaration. i then called northern rail and quoted the ref number i received after i had sent the second email to them. The lady advised that my address should have been updated by them as they received my emails but never was.
    i attended court last week and made the declaration which was accepted by the court and a new court date has been set for next month. The court advised i can make a plea by post and to include as much detail as possible. I have done this. The court provided me with a copy of the original summons which i never received. the summons shows that all correspondence was sent to my first address so i did not receive it. Also the first correspondence from them was sent ten days after i sent my second email. They requested i explain what happened. As this wasnt done in the time scale requested they issued a pentalty fare (again to my old address). Once again this was unresponded to by myself as i was unaware so it led to a court summons and me being found guilty in my absence and fined.

    As i understand it this verdict and fine has now been squashed and the case starts afresh next month (the court issued the new date there and then).

    what i would like some advice with if possible is the following:

    I have pleaded not guilty based on not being given the opportunity to pay at the beginning, during or at the end of my journey as stated in the rail bylaws - how likely is it that my not guilty plea will be accepted and that i wont be found guilty?

    If my plea is accepted will it be dealt with there and then in my absense or will it be adjourned to a later date and will i have to attend?

    Where do i stand with regards to not being able to reply to northern rails request for an explination due to them sending correspondence to the wrong address? The same for the penalty fare also? if they had sent them to the correct address it would never have gone to court as i would have had the opportunity to resolve the matter.

    How likely is it i will be found not guilty and if not am i looking at a hefty fine to pay plus the costs? Which seems really unfair considering i notified them twice i had moved and it was their incompetence that led to such a large fine the first time.

    Any advice would be greatly appreciated
     
  2. Rich McLean

    Rich McLean Established Member

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    Firstly, which station did you travel from and to?

    Also, I would strongly advise seeking a solicitor ASAP
     
  3. najaB

    najaB Veteran Member

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    I don't think it's necessary to instruct a solicitor just yet. The statutory declaration means that the OP is back to stage one - personally I would wait and see if Northern accept his explanation/plea before incurring the cost of a solicitor.
     
  4. Puffing Devil

    Puffing Devil Member

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    Agree.

    A little more detail would be useful - the stations involved, per the second post, and if you can access any of your emails to support your attempted conversations with NT.
     
  5. muddypuddles54

    muddypuddles54 New Member

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    Hi thanks for your replies. The stations i traveled from was birchwood to hough green.

    The emails etc have all been sent to the court along with my not guilty plea
     
  6. muddypuddles54

    muddypuddles54 New Member

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    The emails as they were sent via the website i dont have copies of but northern rail do. I have the automated response emails showing that i twice contacted them and a case number
     
  7. DaveNewcastle

    DaveNewcastle Established Member Fares Advisor

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    It is usual for someone attempting to rebut an allegation of a Criminal offence to produce copies of their evidence to each of the Magistrates, the Clerk to the Court the Prosecution Counsel and their instructing Solicitor and to anyone acting for them.

    I think you are asking for assistance when you are unable to provide copies of your Statements which you seek to rely on as Evidence. Tricky.
     
  8. DaleCooper

    DaleCooper Established Member

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    Although I've never had this problem in relation to an offence I have often had to use these website emails and dislike them intensely. What I do is copy the text and paste it into a word document or similar so I have a record of what I've sent. Do they do this deliberately so they can deny receiving your email, or worse, claim the content differs from what you sent?
     
  9. Realfish

    Realfish Member

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    I agree Dale. Liking to keep a record of my important transactions, I hate them too. And of course the copied the message is only your 'cut and pasted' copy of the 'alleged' text, not the actual e-mail transaction, some may argue.

    That said, if NR cannot produce the copies of the documents that the OP has evidence that they replied to (replies that including the case number), would that not put them at a disadvantage?
     
  10. muddypuddles54

    muddypuddles54 New Member

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    When i spoke to northern rail and quoted the case number, they advised they do have the emaila. They also advised that a member of their staff (i have his name) passed on my change of adress but it was never updated on their system and they can see this
     
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