Prosecution by FCC whilst on TFL Service

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Nasri

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Hi there, I am writing this on behalf of my partner. Any advice would be much appreciated.

Situation.

Travelling from South Quay (DLR) - Bank (Northen) - Moorgate (Northen). All on TFL, we make this journey every day for the past 9 months. We have never used a First Capital Connect service nor did we on the date of the alleged offence.

My partner's season ticket had expired on the day, unknowingly we arrived at Moorgate tube and the ticket barriers were manned by FCC inspectors. My partner was stopped and at that moment she realized what the issue was, she offered to pay for the journey and renew her season ticket. The FCC inspector took down her name, address, made a call etc and she was informed that a letter would be sent giving her the chance to explain what had happened. Nothing was paid on the day (besides her renewing her season ticket for use).

She replied to the letter explaining that this was all in good faith an an accidental mistake plus the first time it had ever happened. She was not intending to avoid a fare. Anyway, they have replied and wish to pursue via magistrates.

We are looking for advice on how to proceed with this. We were not travelling on FCC, this was not an intended fair evasion. How can we settle this out of court? I believe we are happy to pay any admin costs etc. But I am confused, how can FCC prosecute if we were not even on their service? Any advice is much appreciated on this matter. I am happy to provide any further information or details as necessary.

Many thanks in advance.

Nasri.
 
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Nasri

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Hi there, thank you for your response. Not on the letter regarding pursuing with the investigation and court summons no. But I believe this would be regarding not having a valid ticket to show on demand.
 

trc666

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Welcome to the forum Nasri - it does seem a little odd that FCC are prosecuting over a season ticket that has expired by just one day rather than just going for a Penalty Fare plus new season ticket.

If what you are saying is true I would write to them and offer an out of court settlement but if they won't budge then I would plead not guilty at court.

Did anything else happen prior to being stopped at the gates?
 

DaveNewcastle

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The 2 differring companies are not significant.

I'm pleased that your partner was not intending to avoid payment and have said so. If the prosecutions staff reading your statement are satisfied that that was true, then they are probably pursuing a Byelaw Offence and FCC are notoriously robust in their handling of Prosecutions.

Out of Court settlements may be reached at any time and are often agreed quite close to the date of the intended Hearing in Court. I would suggest making your statement of a wish to settle in writing followed by a phone call. In the absence of any other factors and Evidence arising during the incident that we don't know about, and the lack of any previous Conviction or Investigation, then the decision to accept an offer is likley to be based on the content of that letter - an expression of genuine apology and remorse for the inconvenience and an assurance that a lesson has been learned the hard way is more likely to be persuasive than a mere offer of money.
 

Ferret

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Hi there, thank you for your response. Not on the letter regarding pursuing with the investigation and court summons no. But I believe this would be regarding not having a valid ticket to show on demand.

Does sound like a byelaw matter to me, as there doesn't seem to be any suggestion of intent to avoid the fare.

To maybe answer the OP's question regarding it being FCC doing the prosecuting, i have to confess this is only an educated guess, but the FCC RPI would be acting as an Officer of the Railway.

This does sound rather unfortunate - a genuine error rather than anything more sinister. I'd suggest making an offer to cover Admin costs etc, and include that you regularly purchase a season ticket and made an honest mistake that morning, apologising for that mistake.
 

bb21

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If what you are saying is true I would write to them and offer an out of court settlement but if they won't budge then I would plead not guilty at court.

If charged under the Byelaws then there is no doubt that the OP's wife is in breach.
 

Nasri

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Hi, and thank you for your reply and information. No nothing else prior to that. I just find it odd that FCC are the ones chasing this up. As I mentioned FCC is never involved in any part of our commute.

Are there any guidelines that you could provide when attempting an out of court settlement. I think my partner would much rather avoid a day trip to court. As I've mentioned she and I would be happy to pay any fine or admin cost that they ask, just really wish to avoid court and the risk of a criminal record.

Thank you once again in advance
 

ralphchadkirk

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If the charge is the bylaw offence, as has been referred to here then it is a 'strict liability' offence which means that it does not matter why the ticket was not valid, or whether or not there was intent to evade the fare, the mere fact of being in possession of and presenting an invalid ticket is enough to convict for the offence.

Edited to add that given the way the railway is structured, I wouldn't think that FCC prosecuting despite you never having used their trains is not notable and not a good line of defence.
 

Clip

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I was mentioning this the other week about who takes the PF/Prosecution and the concensus was who ever gets it realy - regardless of which service you used.
 

RJ

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You need to be able to show a valid ticket upon demand. If you cannot and your defence is not covered by the exceptions within Byelaw 17/18 then you're in breach.
 

MikeWh

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Moorgate is also the terminus of FCC trains from the north via Finsbury Park. They were probably targetting those passengers primrarily, but as there is only one way out from all the platforms they will also catch Underground users as well.
 

Nasri

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Hi thanks all. I guess we are happy to admit we were in breach of not having a valid ticket at the time. allbeit accidentally. What convictions is my partner liable to face. We would really wish to settle this out of court. Can we offer to pay any fines, what is the maximum penalty that can be faced? (or.. the most common)?

Thanks!

EDIT: Would really appreciate if anyone can assist with advice or guidelines to settle this out of court. Many thanks.
 
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swt_passenger

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Moorgate is also the terminus of FCC trains from the north via Finsbury Park. They were probably targetting those passengers primrarily, but as there is only one way out from all the platforms they will also catch Underground users as well.

Looked at from the opposite perspective, I doubt very much that LU revenue staff would ignore an FCC passenger with an expired season either. I'd be very surprised if the TOCs and LU don't have bona fide agreements in place for dealing with each other's passengers - there are just too many locations which would always have to be double manned for revenue protection otherwise...
 

DaveNewcastle

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EDIT: Would really appreciate if anyone can assist with advice or guidelines to settle this out of court. Many thanks.
Perhaps you've seen the advice in my earlier reply to you?
I advised making a written apology followed up by a phone call. I can't write it for you, of course, as it is YOUR apology and offer!

The offer should be realistic in offering the Company the same outcome as if they had to take it to Court but avoiding their admin time and costs. This may be in the order of £200-£300 but it is usual for a Company to respond positively to an offer in principle, and for them to state an amount that would be accepted. FCC are not the most eager to accept offers of Out of Court settlements, but as you've already been advised, even if they do not accept an offer, you will not be convicted of a Criminal Offence, it is just a Civil Byelaw matter, dealt with in much the same way as some minor Local Authority or motoring incidents are handled.
 

Nasri

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Perhaps you've seen the advice in my earlier reply to you?
I advised making a written apology followed up by a phone call. I can't write it for you, of course, as it is YOUR apology and offer!

The offer should be realistic in offering the Company the same outcome as if they had to take it to Court but avoiding their admin time and costs. This may be in the order of £200-£300 but it is usual for a Company to respond positively to an offer in principle, and for them to state an amount that would be accepted. FCC are not the most eager to accept offers of Out of Court settlements, but as you've already been advised, even if they do not accept an offer, you will not be convicted of a Criminal Offence, it is just a Civil Byelaw matter, dealt with in much the same way as some minor Local Authority or motoring incidents are handled.

Even through magistrates? Many thanks for your response Dave, really appreciate it. I will have to wait until my partner returns in order to deal with this as I am unable to send a letter on her behalf and do not wish to inform her of this in case of upsetting her on her well earned holiday. Once again, many thanks for your response.
 
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