Received letter from investigations appeals and prosecutions team and dont know how to respond

melsherbini

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22 Sep 2021
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London
Basicallyyyyy,
My wallet was stolen with all my cards and my oyster in it so I started using my sisters 11-15 oyster card to get to and from work for like less than 2 weeks. One morning as I was going to work an inspector stopped me after i tapped in and confronted me about it, realised it was my sisters card and then told me he reported me to the TFL. I got a letter 2 days ago (find attached) from them as he said would happen and am now unsure how to respond. I'm starting uni in less than 2 weeks and am studying medicine so i cant have a criminal record. I planned on doing option 2 on the back side of the paper (accepting the offence) and writing this:



EDIT: THEY DECIDED NOT TO PROSECUTE !!!
 

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FenMan

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So I started using my sisters 11-15 oyster card to get to and from work for like less than 2 weeks. One morning as I was going to work an inspector stopped me after i tapped in and confronted me about it, realised it was my sisters card.

To get the very capable help from the experienced posters on this forum, you need to realise that using a ruse to get a cheaper fare for two weeks before you "realised" it was wrong i.e. when you were caught out, is not a good start. Please be honest.
 

furlong

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TfL doesn't mess about and at the age of 18 nobody's really going to believe that you didn't know that what you were doing was seriously wrong and that there weren't alternative courses of action available to you over an extended period like that. You'll need carefully crafted responses to try to minimise the impact and that really means investing in professional legal advice from a local solicitor, which would at least begin to indicate to TfL that you appreciate the seriousness of your situation (i.e. you're prepared to spend money to try to save your career). Disclosing to a public body in this way that you are planning a career that requires a high standard of probity, in my mind, would tip the balance of public interest towards, not away from, a prosecution, as it is important to the country that people in these roles possess the utmost integrity. What I'm saying is, I don't think they'll be concerned about what you say is "in my best interests" but rather they'll be thinking about their own interest and the wider public interest, and I think that sort of response would push them towards considering a prosecution at the more serious end of their scale of options (i.e. fraud), helping to save taxpayers money by not training someone for a role for which they have already demonstrated unsuitability.

Pay a solicitor to help you better understand ways you might be able to put things right and to negotiate with TfL and offer mitigation. Many offer a free initial consultation.
 
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Bertie the bus

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Your reply to TfL is arrogant. It is also not very convincing – I’m just about to start a degree in medicine but I’m just a stupid kid who can’t think things through.
 

skyhigh

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As a result, I found myself with no other choice but to start using my sisters oyster card to get to and from work until my replacement cards arrived.
You clearly did have other options - and if you put that in a letter to TfL they've got a slam dunk prosecution case as you admit using an Oyster card with a discount you weren't entitled to.
However, as an 18 year old kid who's had his wallet stolen for the first time, I wasn’t able to see the full list of options I had at hand.
It stretches belief that someone who's clever enough to study medicine couldn't think of an alternative option for two weeks... if I read that letter, I'm not sure I'd believe your story.

Basically, they don't care about excuses- they've heard them all before and if anything your current letter makes things worse. You just need to make it clear that you're sorry, it won't happen again and that you're willing to pay their fees to resolve the issue. Be aware, however, that generally TfL are unwilling to settle out of court.
 

furlong

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In preparing a response, you should consider TfL's policy - linked to in the letter - which includes the following:

8.1 TfL will have regard to the following factors in favour of prosecution:
...
g) The offender has unlawfully used or transferred a Freedom pass,
Staff Pass or other concessionary passes or travel documents issued
to named holders other than the offender.
...
8.5
...
TfL may decide, in exceptional circumstances, to dispose of an offence
by way of a Warning Letter in lieu of prosecution after considering
several factors: -
a) The offender has admitted the offence;
b) The offender is willing to accept the warning;
c) There must be sufficient evidence to provide a realistic prospect of a
conviction if the offender were to be prosecuted;
d) The offence is not one where a prosecution is required in the public
interest
e) There is likely to be a low risk of re-offending;
f) Satisfactory mitigation has been provided;
...

That gives you some of the criteria against which your response would be assessed.
 

Hadders

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Welcome to the forum.

Below is the advice I give to people who come here seeking advice in similar circumstances to yourself. I think your letter requires significant change for it to stand up to scrutiny. You might want to mention the following:

- That you are sorry for what has happened
- What you have learned from the incident
- That you are keen to settle the matter without the need for court action
- Offer to pay the outstanding fares and the train company's administrative costs in dealing with the matter

Make sure your reply is short and concise, don't give a sob story - they've heard it all before. Most train companies are usually prepared to offer an administrative settlement (commonly known as an out of court settlement) to people who engage with the process and who haven't come to their attention before. Unfortunately Transport for London generally do not offer administrative settlements and are likely to prosecute you. I am not a lawyer but as I understand it if you are prosecuted under the TfL bylwas you would normally receive a fine but it is a non-recordable offence as far as criminal records are concerned. If you are prosecuted under the Regulation of the Railways Act then this would be more serious as it would result in a criminal record.

As others have said you may wish to engage the services of a solicitor who specialises in criminal defence work to assist you should the matter proceed to court.
 

AlterEgo

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I strongly do not recommend mentioning in the letter that you are studying to become a doctor. “Just a kid trying to get by” is not the sort of excuse for defrauding the company I would like a doctor to come up with. I would personally throw the book at you if I was the prosecutor. “I have just now learnt that using someone else’s card to avoid fares is fraud” come on man.

You are an adult and your personal conduct and ethics should be beyond reproach if you pursue this career.

Keep it simple - follow the advice upthread, and don’t break the law again.
 
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Fawkes Cat

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Let's look beyond the immediate issue of responding to TfL and think about what happens if you do end up with a conviction.

I haven't found anything on the websites for either the General Medical Council (who regulate doctors) or the British Medical Association (who are the doctors' trade union) that explicitly says that a conviction will stop you being a doctor. But that could be because I haven't looked closely enough, and it's certainly my understanding that convictions are not a good thing for a doctor. But I also know that for professions regulated by the Nursing and Midwifery Council (which are related to medicine) a conviction that does not impact on how you treat patients is not necessarily a bar to continuing to practice.

So I think you are in a bit of a grey area, and that means you need further advice. If you have already started at university, the places to get that advice are your students union or medical students society. They should be able to tell you what you need to tell the university and the GMC and when. If you haven't already started then I think you probably want to contact whichever bit of your future university you are in most contact with - probably the admissions office. Knowing how busy admissions offices are, I would suggest an email is the best approach to use rather than a phone call.

You might think that all of these suggestions have the risk of telling 'the authorities' things that they don't need to know. But bear in mind that a high standard of honesty is expected of doctors: that includes honesty when it could be to your disadvantage. It seems to me that it would be better for things to emerge at an early stage so that you can show that you are working with 'the authorities' to resolve matters rather than at a later stage when there will be the additional issue that you could be perceived as trying to hide the problem in the hope that it would go away - which is not the behaviour that is a high standard of honesty.
 

30907

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On your future career: we had a thread some time ago of someone who committed a similar offence, IIRC between being accepted by a medical school and starting, and was asked by the school to write a reflection on the ethical issues.

(Should TfL decide you should be prosecuted for the single incident only, rather than repeated misuse, they may use the Byelaw offence of travelling without a valid ticket; this is "non-recordable" and a medical school is unlikely to be concerned. However, from what you have said they would be entitled to go for a more serious offence.)

BTW - your sister is also implicated in this, unless you took the card without asking, but fortunately she is a minor and TfL are unlikely to investigate.
 

clagmonster

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May I ask a few questions about your stolen Oyster:
1) Was the Oyster registered. If so, was it reported as stolen to TfL?
2) Did the stolen Oyster have a Travelcard or other product loaded on it or was it just pay as you go.
3) Did the stolen Oyster have any discount entitlement loaded on to it?
4) Do you have a crime reference for the theft.

I do not believe that the answers to the above affect your guilt of any offences, though they may offer a low level of mitigation.

Might I ask as to your usual travel patterns? Obtaining a period Travelcard, if appropriate to your needs, would make you much less likely to reoffend in the eyes of TfL.

I agree with the advice above to show more contrition in your response to TfL.
 

ANDREW_D_WEBB

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I agree with the advice above to show more contrition in your response to TfL.
Would also suggest checking use of capital letters and apostrophes. The standard of written English falls well below what people would expect from someone with (given your place to read medicine) at least a couple of A grades at A Level.
 

melsherbini

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So I started using my sisters 11-15 oyster card to get to and from work for like less than 2 weeks. One morning as I was going to work an inspector stopped me after i tapped in and confronted me about it, realised it was my sisters card.

To get the very capable help from the experienced posters on this forum, you need to realise that using a ruse to get a cheaper fare for two weeks before you "realised" it was wrong i.e. when you were caught out, is not a good start. Please be honest.
Hi, I have read through all comments and have rewritten my statement completely.

Would also suggest checking use of capital letters and apostrophes. The standard of written English falls well below what people would expect from someone with (given your place to read medicine) at least a couple of A grades at A Level.
thanks for that. it wasnt a final letter so i hadnt proof read it yet but will keep in mind.

May I ask a few questions about your stolen Oyster:
1) Was the Oyster registered. If so, was it reported as stolen to TfL?
2) Did the stolen Oyster have a Travelcard or other product loaded on it or was it just pay as you go.
3) Did the stolen Oyster have any discount entitlement loaded on to it?
4) Do you have a crime reference for the theft.

I do not believe that the answers to the above affect your guilt of any offences, though they may offer a low level of mitigation.

Might I ask as to your usual travel patterns? Obtaining a period Travelcard, if appropriate to your needs, would make you much less likely to reoffend in the eyes of TfL.

I agree with the advice above to show more contrition in your response to TfL.
The oyster was registered but I didn't bother reporting it as stolen because im 18 and the 16+ card expires on the 30th of this September so I saw no point. The stolen oyster was pay as you go and I believe it did have some discount entitlement as its a 16+ card. I don't have a crime reference as again i saw no point in reporting it but i do have proof of me asking my bank for replacement cards. I'm leaving London in about a week for my first year of university so wouldn't really be regularly travelling on TFL anymore. I have now edited my response
 

melsherbini

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On your future career: we had a thread some time ago of someone who committed a similar offence, IIRC between being accepted by a medical school and starting, and was asked by the school to write a reflection on the ethical issues.

(Should TfL decide you should be prosecuted for the single incident only, rather than repeated misuse, they may use the Byelaw offence of travelling without a valid ticket; this is "non-recordable" and a medical school is unlikely to be concerned. However, from what you have said they would be entitled to go for a more serious offence.)

BTW - your sister is also implicated in this, unless you took the card without asking, but fortunately she is a minor and TfL are unlikely to investigate.
why would they be more entitled to go for a serious offence. I checked the oyster log and i only used it for 7 days and only used it for a train the one time i got caught at the station.

Welcome to the forum.

Below is the advice I give to people who come here seeking advice in similar circumstances to yourself. I think your letter requires significant change for it to stand up to scrutiny. You might want to mention the following:

- That you are sorry for what has happened
- What you have learned from the incident
- That you are keen to settle the matter without the need for court action
- Offer to pay the outstanding fares and the train company's administrative costs in dealing with the matter

Make sure your reply is short and concise, don't give a sob story - they've heard it all before. Most train companies are usually prepared to offer an administrative settlement (commonly known as an out of court settlement) to people who engage with the process and who haven't come to their attention before. Unfortunately Transport for London generally do not offer administrative settlements and are likely to prosecute you. I am not a lawyer but as I understand it if you are prosecuted under the TfL bylwas you would normally receive a fine but it is a non-recordable offence as far as criminal records are concerned. If you are prosecuted under the Regulation of the Railways Act then this would be more serious as it would result in a criminal record.

As others have said you may wish to engage the services of a solicitor who specialises in criminal defence work to assist you should the matter proceed to court.
i am in the process of contacting solicitors but have rewritten my statement following those points.
 

melsherbini

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So I started using my sisters 11-15 oyster card to get to and from work for like less than 2 weeks. One morning as I was going to work an inspector stopped me after i tapped in and confronted me about it, realised it was my sisters card.

To get the very capable help from the experienced posters on this forum, you need to realise that using a ruse to get a cheaper fare for two weeks before you "realised" it was wrong i.e. when you were caught out, is not a good start. Please be honest.
I was mistaken and it was only one week but I have had some reflection and do agree with you

Your reply to TfL is arrogant. It is also not very convincing – I’m just about to start a degree in medicine but I’m just a stupid kid who can’t think things through.
thanks for the help. i have edited it since then and is in my thread description
 

MikeWh

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The oyster was registered but I didn't bother reporting it as stolen because im 18 and the 16+ card expires on the 30th of this September so I saw no point.
If you report it as stolen then it can be stopped and any remaining PAYG balance can be returned to you, or added to a new Oyster card.
The stolen oyster was pay as you go and I believe it did have some discount entitlement as its a 16+ card.
The 16+ zip Oyster card entitles you to half fare travel. The 11-15 zip Oyster card is similar for some peak travel before 0930, but off-peak it is much cheaper than the 16+ as single fares are 75p with a £1.55 cap.
 

AlterEgo

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I really do not recommend either claiming that you are about to begin studying medicine nor your family situation. Neither of these are relevant and do not provide any mitigation to your case. Please keep the letter short and factual for your own benefit.
 

Bungle158

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Your letter is not going to do you any favours. Other posters have pointed out potential flaws. IMO, simple and concise sentences, no clever phrasing and certainly, no legalese would produce better results.
 

skyhigh

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However, I still had work very soon after, and I saw an easy way out by using my younger sister’s 11-15 zip card. I now realise how utterly foolish and silly a mistake this was, but at the time I was already under extreme financial (my bank account is at less than £400 as of now) and mental stress with my first job, my stolen wallet, trying to save up money for university and my own family issues. I saw using my sister’s card as an easy temporary fix until my replacement cards arrived
Again, if you send that to TfL it's a slam dunk prosecution. You're clearly saying you deliberately used the discounted Oyster, and that you did it to save money - i.e. this was intentional fare evasion.
 

30907

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why would they be more entitled to go for a serious offence. I checked the oyster log and i only used it for 7 days and only used it for a train the one time i got caught at the station.
As skyhigh has said, they have evidence of intent to evade the fare due.
i am in the process of contacting solicitors
I can't see the point of that, frankly.
but have rewritten my statement following those points.
I won't repeat what others have said.

As the father of a GP, I wish you well for your future career, but I am concerned as to how you will cope with the far greater stresses, if a theft has stressed you enough to make a fairly serious ethical misjudgement.
 

melsherbini

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Again, if you send that to TfL it's a slam dunk prosecution. You're clearly saying you deliberately used the discounted Oyster, and that you did it to save money - i.e. this was intentional fare evasion.
under popular demand i have got a solicitor to represent and he will be sending the letter instead asap. wish me luck guys :)
 

melsherbini

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As skyhigh has said, they have evidence of intent to evade the fare due.

I can't see the point of that, frankly.

I won't repeat what others have said.

As the father of a GP, I wish you well for your future career, but I am concerned as to how you will cope with the far greater stresses, if a theft has stressed you enough to make a fairly serious ethical misjudgement.
the point of getting a solicitor is that I (clearly) have no idea what Im doing right now and so a possible prosecution is close to a 100% chance if i send the letter by myself with no legal support. I have got a lawyer who will be doing this instead and has had success with these cases, soooo
wish me luck :)
 

melsherbini

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OK, good luck. Please let us know how you get on.
hi. just got a call from my lawyer to let me know TFL have decided not to prosecute and have just given a warning. very very grateful for all the help i received and uhh thank god too phew!
 

Fawkes Cat

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hi. just got a call from my lawyer to let me know TFL have decided not to prosecute and have just given a warning. very very grateful for all the help i received and uhh thank god too phew!
That's a good result.
 

30907

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the point of getting a solicitor is that I (clearly) have no idea what Im doing right now and so a possible prosecution is close to a 100% chance if i send the letter by myself with no legal support. I have got a lawyer who will be doing this instead and has had success with these cases, soooo
wish me luck :)
Sorry, missed your reply, for which thanks - and delighted you have avoided any penalty.
 

Wolfie

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hi. just got a call from my lawyer to let me know TFL have decided not to prosecute and have just given a warning. very very grateful for all the help i received and uhh thank god too phew!
You have been bloody lucky. I hope that you realise that. Please, for your own sake, learn the lesson.
 

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