Prosecution under Byelaw 17(1)

Discussion in 'Disputes & Prosecutions' started by Skywalker, 9 Feb 2019.

  1. Skywalker

    Skywalker Member

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    Hi,

    Not sure where to start it’s been nearly a year and my life has been ruined by my stupid actions. I’m not sure what is going to happen to me and I would really appreciate any advice anyone could give me please.

    My specific question is around a criminal conviction and the corresponding sentences.

    I have been summoned to court Contray to Byelaw 17(1) of the Transport for London Railway Byelaws.

    If I receive a conditional/absolute discharge:

    1. Will this come up on any DBS checks?
    2. Could I go to the US for holiday/study purposes under their visa waiver programme?
    3. Will it come up if I'm applying for jobs that are sensitive in nature?

    I did something very very stupid and very very wrong. I have never broken any laws before and I never intend to do again. I’m just so shocked that all my opportunities in life are going to be taken away from me. Is there a way to avoid prosecution or any marks on your record please?
     
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  3. 30907

    30907 Established Member

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    This is what our forum says (I've highlighted the most important bits):

    https://www.railforums.co.uk/threads/railuk-fares-ticketing-guide-section-8-legal.71833/

    "A person found Guilty of an Offence (other than a breach of a Byelaw) will have their details entered on the Police National Computer (PNC) and will therefore appear on a check with the Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS), this is generally referred to as a "DBS Check". An Offence of fare evasion (under Section 5 of the RoRA) in the PNC will be treated as a crime of dishonesty.
    A person found Guilty of a Byelaw Offence will not have the fact recorded on the PNC (unless the Court makes an administrative error).
    Persons found Guilty of either category of Offence will have the fact revealed during a National Security Vetting or Developed Vetting (DV) search, which is the level of background checking applied to persons working with Official Secrets in Government and with certain sensitive information in the armed forces, MoD and defence contractors. A Railway ticketing Offence will not appear on a Baseline Personnel Security Standard (BPSS) as applicable to staff in some Government Departments nor would it appear on a Counter Terrorist Check (CTC)."

    As yours is a Byelaw Offence (travel without valid ticket) the answers are
    1. No.
    2. No AFAIK but check the relevant website.
    3. Yes possibly, but it depends on the nature of the job.

    Note - I've edited out references to CRB checks in the quotation.
     
  4. najaB

    najaB Veteran Member

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    Technically and strictly speaking, no. But in practical terms, as far as anyone has been able to determine, they would have no way to determine if you had or had not been convicted since that would require direct access to the PNC.

    The official advice is to apply for a visa.
     
    Last edited: 9 Feb 2019
  5. Puffing Devil

    Puffing Devil Established Member

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    Question: Was the summons issued more than 6 months after the offence? If so, the matter cannot be heard and you should speak to a local solicitor.

    Asking this as you said you made the mistake nearly a year ago.
     
  6. Skywalker

    Skywalker Member

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    30907 najaB thank you very much for your advice it’s made me feel so much better. Does the same apply if the worst happens - which is they convict me?

    Puffing Devil - it’s more like 9 months. Frustratingly they sent me a summons 7 days before the cut off of 6 months.

    I have a solicitor with who I’ve been engaging with thank you.

    Is there any way I can change TfL’s mind? Evidence of extensive charity work? Academic achievement?

    Just want to say thank you, despite doing something so stupid and so wrong thank you for taking the time to help me.

    Edit - is there a possibility to settle out of court?
     
    Last edited: 9 Feb 2019
  7. 30907

    30907 Established Member

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    First - my answers assume you are found guilty. Acquittal, or an out of court settlement (other posts on this forum have given me the impression that TfL don't take this option, but there's no harm in asking).

    Second - I assume you will be pleading guilty, so your fine will be decided by the court. See the post I linked, where ISTR there is something on procedure.
    I doubt the magistrates will be impressed by academic achievement, but being of previous good character might help - however, my impression is that many fare evaders are otherwise upright citizens. That said, I am not a magistrate.
     
  8. JN114

    JN114 Established Member

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    Can I just clarify that all the above applies under TfL byelaws? The forum guidance is written for railway byelaws which aren’t necessarily the same - I don’t know the answer myself but feel we should be certain our advice is sound.
     
  9. swt_passenger

    swt_passenger Veteran Member

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    Surely the rules for not recording on PNC are concerned with any Byelaw offences? So the rules aren’t specifically about rail, (whether that’s National Rail or TfL or any other similar system, such as trams or metros).
     
  10. najaB

    najaB Veteran Member

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    AFAIK, you are correct.
     
  11. Skywalker

    Skywalker Member

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    All,

    Thank you so much for taking the time to discuss my question especially over your weekend!

    So to confirm as it’s a byelaw a conviction in terms of every day life doesn’t make that much difference?

    Having said that my understanding is that a conviction spent of otherwise will result in me having to answer YES to the question “Have you been convicted of a crime?” BUT a discharge will allow me to answer NO.

    I was going to renew my car insurance yesterday and one of the questions was along the lines of have “Do you have any unspent convictions?”

    Whilst I understand my error and the gravity of it its mind-boggling it seems to me that the punishment doesn’t fit the crime. What makes it worse during the week I saw a group of young men just blatantly force themselves through the barrier and TfL staff just stood by and watched…
     
  12. najaB

    najaB Veteran Member

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    Correct, it doesn't affect life any more than a single speeding ticket would.
    Given that the punishment would be a fine of around £100 plus costs I don't see it being that extreme.
    No, spent convictions do not have to be declared for things like getting insurance - that's the whole point of them being spent.
     
  13. Puffing Devil

    Puffing Devil Established Member

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    You can answer no as you have not yet been convicted. Be careful if they ask about any prosecutions pending - you do have that still. Sometimes they only ask about motoring convictions. Read the questions carefully and answer honestly; you insurance is in jeopardy if you don't and future insurance can be impacted if you are caught being untruthful, even if unintentionally.
     
  14. JN114

    JN114 Established Member

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    Thank you both - I wasn’t challenging the accuracy; just clarifying my own understanding.
     
  15. island

    island Established Member

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    The USA does not have a concept of spent convictions, but it is unlikely the offence you committed would be a crime involving moral turpitude.
     
  16. cuccir

    cuccir Established Member

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    A conditional discharge is a discharge, if no further offences are committed in the time period given (usually 1 year).

    As a receiver of a conditional discharge, for a non-rail related offence (long story!), my understanding at that time was that it needed declaring as a conviction for the period of conditionality; at that point, if you have not committed another offence, the discharge is confirmed and it is no longer considered a conviction. It does remain on the PNC, however

    This is for conditional discharges generally; note the differences for a Byelaw offence as already mentioned
     
  17. Mathew S

    Mathew S Member

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    To @Skywalker - the charity Unlock have some very useful guidance on dealing with insurance companies (including details of companies who don't ask about convictions at all, which is useful) as well extensive information on when convictions become spent, what kinds of checks they will show up on, and so on.
    I won't copy and paste all the information here because it would be thousands of words, but if you visit http://hub.unlock.org.uk/ I'm sure you'll find it useful.
    They also offer an email and telephone helpline which you can access, after your case is concluded in whatever way, for further advice.
     
  18. Fawkes Cat

    Fawkes Cat Member

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    - to add to the good advice already given, and hopefully to clarify, a discharge would be the sentence.

    If you are convicted of an offence, there are two stages. The first is the conviction: this comes about through you pleading guilty, or being found guilty by the court.

    The second stage is the punishment - the sentence. As I understand it and taking crime as a whole, this can be anything between life imprisonment down to an unconditional discharge (no specific punishment at all). But whatever the sentence imposed, that doesn't affect the fact that you have been convicted.

    So if an insurance application asks if you have any convictions from the court, the answer is 'yes' even if the sentence was an unconditional discharge. If they ask if you have any unspent convictions then for a by-law conviction, the answer is 'no' because by-law convictions are considered spent immediately. Convictions under Acts of Parliament are different. I think a Google for 'spent convictions' will tell you more if you need it.


    (Edited as in the light of @Mathew S ' comment below maybe not as accurate or helpful as I thought)
     
    Last edited: 11 Feb 2019
  19. Mathew S

    Mathew S Member

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    No. Because an unconditional discharge is immediately considered spent, you do not, ever, have to inform an insurance company. Nor would you ever have to inform any other organisation unless the circumstances in which you are asked are specifically exempt from the Rehabilitation of Offenders Act (ROA), e.g. if applying to be a teacher, doctor, police officer, etc.
    If you have a spent conviction, the default answer to, "do you have any convictions?" is always no, unless an exemption from ROA applies.
     
  20. Skywalker

    Skywalker Member

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    Thank you all for your advice, it’s very helpful and will certainly help me in my discussion with my solicitor.

    It seems like any option in this instance is a career ending outcome!

    Does anyone know why TfL suddenly decided to not settle out of court? It also seems that it’s down to one person at the Investigations and Appeals team to decide wether to prosecute or to settle? (apologies if this is too off-topic, happy to create a new thread if required?)
     
  21. cuccir

    cuccir Established Member

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    If it's not too personal, what's your career? While there are some which any conviction will be problematic, for the vast majority a conviction for a fairly minor offence - which would describe a Byelaw conviction - is not career ending. If you are currently employed, you should check your contract and (if you can subtly) any HR policies to see if they mention criminal convictions. If you're in a Union, they should also be able to advise you on standard practice at your employer or in your industry.
     
  22. Mathew S

    Mathew S Member

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    It might seem like that now but (depending what you do of course) it shouldn't be. Yes, you might have some difficult explaining to do, but there are 11 million people in the UK who have a criminal record - me included - so you're not on your own!
    I understand you not wanting to out details on a public forum (nor would I) but feel free to message me privately if you have questions you don't want to put on here.
     
  23. najaB

    najaB Veteran Member

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    That is highly unlikely to be the case. I used to work quite closely with recruitment in my last organisation, and as long as candidates were honest about any minor, non-violent offences it was rarely an blocker.
     
  24. Llanigraham

    Llanigraham On Moderation

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    For those of us that don't know the By-Laws:
     
  25. 30907

    30907 Established Member

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    I think your earlier response was much nearer the mark

    and I hope your solicitor has pointed this out (or will do so).
     
  26. js1000

    js1000 Member

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    Yes, it's far more common than people think. 1 in 6 people in the UK have a criminal record. For men it's something like 1 in 3. Root and branch reform is long overdue. You only have to look at the level of the prison population and rate of re-offending to realise it's a daft, archaic system.
     
  27. Skywalker

    Skywalker Member

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    Thank you all for your reassurances.

    I am a Doctor which is why I’ve been so worried about the consequences of my actions.

    When disclosing a conviction how much info. Would your employer be able to see? Will they just see the title or will they have all the details?
     
  28. Mathew S

    Mathew S Member

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    Byelaw offences are non-recordable, as others have said, so it shouldn't appear on a DBS check at all.
    When I've seen DBS disclosures in the past, they contain the 'name' of the offence, the date it was committed, and sometimes the court where the case was dealt with. They don't give details of the offence.
    Even if it does show up - which, as I've said, it really shouldn't - assuming that this is a simple "not having a valid ticket when you were in an area where you should have" case, you will likely have to explain it whenever you apply for a job but, as long as you do that openly and honestly, I would be amazed if it had any impact on your career - even as a doctor.
     
  29. najaB

    najaB Veteran Member

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    I would be very surprised if a single, minor ticketing offence (especially a strict liability one) would have any impact on your career. As I noted above, Byelaw offences are in the same 'category' as speeding tickets.

    One won't be a problem, a series of them might be.
     
  30. cuccir

    cuccir Established Member

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    There are thousands of doctors working with criminal convictions and it shouldn't stop you working. But my understanding is that following the guidelines of the BMC, you would probably have to report any convictions, or potentially even being charged with a crime. You should speak with a local BMA rep who will be able to offer informed advice.
     
  31. Skywalker

    Skywalker Member

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    Hi everyone, thank you so much for your response I actually feel a lot better about all of this! Paranoia about this will mean that I will pay for subject access requests to check after my court date.

    I’ve also discussed further with my solicitor and for anyone that stumbles across this thread my understanding is as follows:

    1. If your case goes to court, the best thing that can happen is a conditional discharge as this is the only instance you can answer no to any question asking about a criminal conviction. Which means you can work and travel freely!

    2. As members have pointed out this is a non-recordable offence and should not turn up on any DBS checks (although not sure if this is true if you are convicted), but may show up on deeper checks associated with security clearances.

    If useful I will post an update after my date with fate.

    Thank you all for allaying my fears by providing clear information and secondly for all your considered and kind responses.
     

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