Prosecution? Please help me

Discussion in 'Disputes & Prosecutions' started by Livaren, 15 Apr 2015.

Thread Status:
Not open for further replies.
  1. Livaren

    Livaren Member

    Messages:
    5
    Joined:
    15 Apr 2015
    Hello everyone,

    I am really terrified after recieved a letter from TFL today in the post. Last week I was carrying my sisters 16-18 zip oystercard and my 18+ card. I was travelling with my sister a few weeks ago and I carried her card as she didn't have any pockets or a bag. She doesn't use her oyster at all as her college is 5 minutes away.

    I got onto a bus near aldgate east station and I accidently tapped her card instead of mine as they are both in wallets and I didn't notice I had used hers. (I have money topped up on mine so I had intended to use mine) I also purchase monthly top ups every month to use for uni so I did not fare dodge intentionally. I then was stopped at Stratford I gave the office my oyster card and she said it had not been used, then I realised what had happened and gave her my sisters card and said it was a genuine mistake) She took down my details and said I will get a letter in 10 days and confiscated my sisters oyster card.

    Today I got a letter which said that legal procedeings may be taken against me and if I have any comments to make to write it on th ereverse side of the letter and send it within 10 days. It says I do not have to reply to the letter but it may harm my defence if I do not mention something now which I may later rely on in court. Anythint I do write may be used in evidence.

    It also says failure to respond to the letter may result in the matter being progressed by TFL without further notification.

    Please help me, I am terrified of the prospect of a huge fine and even more so of going to court and having a criminal record. I am 18 and a first year university student I have never had any problems with the law or tfl and I always pay my fares. As you can also understand being a university student money is scarce and overall I am just really worried at what lies ahead.

    Can someone please advise me on what to do in this situation. I also try caling the number on the letter but it keeps saying it is busy.

    Thanks.
    --- old post above --- --- new post below ---
    I am in the process of drafting a letter which I plan to send by email. Would someone please also check it for me to see if it is a good response.
     
    Last edited: 28 Apr 2015
  2. telstarbox

    telstarbox Established Member

    Messages:
    3,899
    Joined:
    23 Jul 2010
    Location:
    Wennington Crossovers
    Was your sister with you when you were stopped at Stratford?
     
  3. Livaren

    Livaren Member

    Messages:
    5
    Joined:
    15 Apr 2015
    No, we travelled together the week before (not using public transport) and since then I had her wallet which contained her oyster card and other cards with me. Her wallet is identical to mine, it is the bi-fold oyster wallet.
     
  4. island

    island Established Member

    Messages:
    9,335
    Joined:
    30 Dec 2010
    Location:
    0036
    Where precisely were you spoken to by the inspector?

    Why were you still carrying your sister's Oyster photocard for a week after you held it for her during a journey?

    Did your Oyster card have any tickets loaded onto it?
     
  5. furlong

    furlong Established Member

    Messages:
    1,314
    Joined:
    28 Mar 2013
    Location:
    Reading
    They are likely to try to assess how much money they have lost and make you pay compensation.

    If they look at the usage history of the two cards, will they see that it only happened on this one occasion, or will they see a pattern of journeys paid for on your card, then a gap with multiple similar journeys on your sister's card instead? They can also call up CCTV images from buses and station gatelines at the times the card was tapped to check who was using it.
     
  6. Livaren

    Livaren Member

    Messages:
    5
    Joined:
    15 Apr 2015
    Near the doors towards the middle of the bus.

    It was only a couple days ago we travelled together and we both forgot I had it with me as she didn't need it as we're both on Easter Holidays.

    My Oyster card didn't have my monthly pass which expired 2 weeks before but I didn't get it topped up as my holidays started, but it had £3 which was enough to cover me for my journey.
     
  7. Livaren

    Livaren Member

    Messages:
    5
    Joined:
    15 Apr 2015
    I have sent them a long email apologising and explaining the situation in depth, I pray that they have some mercy and maybe do a out of court settlement.
     
  8. PermitToTravel

    PermitToTravel Established Member

    Messages:
    2,870
    Joined:
    21 Dec 2011
    Please can you clarify what you mean by monthly top ups? Was there a travelcard loaded on your Oyster card?
     
  9. Livaren

    Livaren Member

    Messages:
    5
    Joined:
    15 Apr 2015
    Not at the time, I usually have a monthly travelcard on my Oyster, but since it was/is Easter Holidays I don't go back to Uni till May. But I did have £3 on my Oyster which is enough for the fare.
     
  10. Deerfold

    Deerfold Established Member

    Messages:
    9,036
    Joined:
    26 Nov 2009
    Location:
    Yorkshire
    Will there be a gap of several months without use on your sister's card if she doesn't use it at all?
     
  11. DaveNewcastle

    DaveNewcastle Established Member Fares Advisor

    Messages:
    7,291
    Joined:
    21 Dec 2007
    Location:
    Newcastle (unless I'm out)
    I can give you a little advice, but it's probably not enough to be of real assistance.

    Firstly, the process. TfL will be looking at the incident to determine whether this was a simple attempt to avoid paying the full fare (a deliberate use of the discounted Oyster card) or an unintended mistake (with no intention to avoid paying the full fare). You have told us the background and an explanation for having both cards with you, and you have told us that it was 'a genuine mistake'. TfL will reach their own decision, based on what you said, what the Inspector saw and understood, and on what the history of the 2 cards reveals.
    If the Inspector's report and the card history suggests that this appears to have happened previously and recently, then they will probably not be inclined to agree that it was 'a genuine mistake'.
    But if the report and the history and the facts of the matter cannot show any reason to suggest that it was a deliberate attempt to avoid paying the proper fare 'beyond all reasonable doubt', then they would not normally waste their time and resources with a prosecution which doesn't have the evidence to confirm it 'beyond all reasonable doubt'.

    Secondly, what to do about it. Here, I can't be so helpful, because I don't know what you said at the time, don't know what is in the Inspector's report, and don't know what is in the recent history for those two Oyster accounts.
    But you really should reply, and you really should tell the truth (any false statements are likely to be discovered!).
    If it was a truly genuine mistake, then perhaps you have some additional evidence to support that view, such as recent journeys while you had the discounted card but, correctly, used your own card.

    If they do feel that there is evidence 'beyond all reasonable doubt' and you really had made 'a genuine mistake', then you are in a conflict of views; it will not be the evidence that is most persuasive or that is most eloquently put, but the facts that will decide the matter.

    There is an alternative offence which they might pursue, and that is that you 'failed to hand over your ticket for inspection when asked to do so'. You have, effectively, admitted that, irregardless of later producing the other card (or ticket) when the first one was found to be invalid.

    These are Byelaw offences and they create no criminal record and are likely to result in a very modest fine. That offence does not involve any element of intention, so it can be commited in error. If this is the route they choose, then it might still be worth some legal argument about presenting both tickets (cards) during hte one inspection, but I'd hesitate to advise it. I guess that a Byelaw offence would be the best outcome for you - a small fine, some costs, the unpaid fare and you're on your way again.

    But on the other hand, if there is a history of you (and/or your sister) exploiting abuses of fares and tickets like this, and this is simply the first time that you've been caught, then, depending on the scale of the abuse, a far more serious Criminal prosecution may be ahead of you. You will know whether that is true or not - and presumably so will TfL.

    Hope that helps.
     
    Last edited: 15 Apr 2015
  12. PermitToTravel

    PermitToTravel Established Member

    Messages:
    2,870
    Joined:
    21 Dec 2011
    The offence in question occurred on a bus, not a train. In light of this, is it still the case that a conviction would be non-recordable?
     
  13. DaveNewcastle

    DaveNewcastle Established Member Fares Advisor

    Messages:
    7,291
    Joined:
    21 Dec 2007
    Location:
    Newcastle (unless I'm out)
    I'm puzzled. What recordable offence do you think might have been committed?
    The National Police Records (Recordable Offences) Regulations are silent on the distinction between trains and busses.

    If there was a long track record of ticket abuse, then perhaps it would be captured by the Fraud Act, which is recordable, but there's nothing in Livaren's reports on here that lead me to suspect that. Have you seen reason to suspect a Fraud?
     
    Last edited: 15 Apr 2015
  14. PermitToTravel

    PermitToTravel Established Member

    Messages:
    2,870
    Joined:
    21 Dec 2011
    Ah, I was under the impression that the factor determining recordability of an offence was its byelawness, rather than the magnitude of its theoretical punishment. Thank you.
     
  15. MarlowDonkey

    MarlowDonkey Member

    Messages:
    566
    Joined:
    4 Apr 2013
    It's something of a hazard with Oyster cards that plain ones are interchangeable but once something extra has been loaded they aren't.

    So users need to be able to annotate their card once it becomes personalised.
     
  16. PermitToTravel

    PermitToTravel Established Member

    Messages:
    2,870
    Joined:
    21 Dec 2011
    That's not relevant in this case though where the OP's sister's card will have had her photograph on it.
     
  17. cjmillsnun

    cjmillsnun Established Member

    Messages:
    2,601
    Joined:
    13 Feb 2011
    I have to admit I don't open the wallet to check the card. For this reason my wife and I use different wallets
     
Thread Status:
Not open for further replies.

Share This Page