taken to court over fare evasion/intent to avoid a fare

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potterguy

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Hi guys

Back on october 31st at University station I failed to by a ticket because of the huge queses there and I needed to get to the city centre quickly. At new street station I sillyilly decided to completely avoid buying a ticket and use the lifts to exit the station because they avoid the ticket barriers. However they for the first time ever had a ticket inspector there who court me.

Anyway my over christmas they sent me a couple of letters saying they were planning on taking me to court etc etc and would I like to say anything. I replied back essentially admitting that i didnt have a ticket. I offered to pay the cost of the ticket a penalty fare and admin costs, but today my dad emailled me to say the something that looks like court summonshas arrived back at home.

Can people advise me on what to do. I fully admit I didnt have a valid ticket, they are also trying to do me for intent to avoid a fare which they say is a more serious offense, I can possible defend myself there by showing them bank records that show that straight away after the incident I brought a complete return ticket from new street back to uni. I did also point out that if I came from alvechurch, a station on the line, and I was disabled I would have to do excatly what I did do as alvechurch has no ticket facilities and there is never a conductor on the train to buy a ticket of, so would have to leave via the lifts at new street and avoid a ticket.

I have offered to pay penalty fare, ticket cost and admin fee, will that stand me in good stead at court, also im sure I read something about a 6 month time limit on these things, if so that time limti will have expired on 30 april so could this thing be chucked out anyway due to crosscountry/transport investigations Ltd mucking up dates, a bit like the home sec.

I am quite worried because of the possibility of a criminal record and that im young so it will affect me for the rest of my life, especially as im looking for work
 
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Brucey

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Put bluntly, everything you did on the day shows intent to avoid payment. It also suggests that you may regularly use the lifts to avoid payment.

They may take a payment as an out of court settlement. Figures I've seen for other TOCs suggest £200 minimum. I've not seen any figures relating to CrossCountry, or whether they would even settle out of court.
 

bb21

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but today my dad emailled me to say the something that looks like court summonshas arrived back at home.
Can you (or your dad) have a look at the contents of the letter and tell us which legislation they're intending to prosecute you under?

My suspicion is that if they are trying to prove intent then it is the Regulation of Railways Act 1889, however I could be wrong.

I can possible defend myself there by showing them bank records that show that straight away after the incident I brought a complete return ticket from new street back to uni.
You did that after being caught? Sorry but I doubt that will make any difference.

I did also point out that if I came from alvechurch, a station on the line, and I was disabled I would have to do excatly what I did do as alvechurch has no ticket facilities and there is never a conductor on the train to buy a ticket of, so would have to leave via the lifts at new street and avoid a ticket..
Are you disabled?

also im sure I read something about a 6 month time limit on these things, if so that time limti will have expired on 30 april so could this thing be chucked out anyway due to crosscountry/transport investigations Ltd mucking up dates, a bit like the home sec.
Nope.
 

Nym

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At new street station I sillyilly decided to completely avoid buying a ticket and use the lifts to exit the station because they avoid the ticket barriers.
Then...

they are also trying to do me for intent to avoid a fare which they say is a more serious offense, I can possible defend myself there by showing them bank records that show that straight away after the incident I brought a complete return ticket from new street back to uni.
You just admited you DID avoid trying to pay a fare, now you're asking for advice from a forum full of honest fare paying passengers and the staff that you stole the service from to advise you on how to get out of the punishment for evading the fare?

Forgive me for thinking you're barking up the wrong tree here when you have admited guilt... (You're talking to someone who went and thanked Northern RPIs on the car park exit at Bolton for doing a good job and that it was about time)

I did also point out that if I came from alvechurch, a station on the line, and I was disabled I would have to do excatly what I did do as alvechurch has no ticket facilities and there is never a conductor on the train to buy a ticket of, so would have to leave via the lifts at new street and avoid a ticket.
That bares no relevance, as you didn't come from there.
 

potterguy

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Cant check the court summons as dad has already out it in the post to me, in a letter from TIL dated Jan they mention national railways byelaw 18(2005) as the law they are bring me up on
 

swt_passenger

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Hi guys

However they for the first time ever had a ticket inspector there who court me.
Do you really believe that they have never checked tickets there before? I wouldn't mention that in your defence - or anyone might think you'd done this a few times...
 

island

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I have to say that they have you bang to rights on this one. London Midland operates ticket sale facilities on arrival at Birmingham N St (inside the normal gateline) so you could have asked to purchase a ticket there.

You can write back offering to pay a very substantial sum for the case to be dropped (I'd be starting at £250 or more), but as mentioned above we have little information on how CrossCountry behaves in these scenarios.

The only small consolation is that a conviction would not, for most purposes, affect you for the rest of your life, as it would be spent after five years.

If they are only prosecuting under the railway bye-laws, consider it your lucky day, as convictions under those bye-laws are not recordable and you ought to be prosecuted under the Regulation of Railways Act 1889 for intentionally avoiding your fare.
 

potterguy

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I have to say that they have you bang to rights on this one. London Midland operates ticket sale facilities on arrival at Birmingham N St (inside the normal gateline) so you could have asked to purchase a ticket there.

You can write back offering to pay a very substantial sum for the case to be dropped (I'd be starting at £250 or more), but as mentioned above we have little information on how CrossCountry behaves in these scenarios.

The only small consolation is that a conviction would not, for most purposes, affect you for the rest of your life, as it would be spent after five years.

If they are only prosecuting under the railway bye-laws, consider it your lucky day, as convictions under those bye-laws are not recordable and you ought to be prosecuted under the Regulation of Railways Act 1889 for intentionally avoiding your fare.
Thanks, I now im guilty it was a silly one off mistake, are you sure that it a spent thing, becuase im sure I read somewhere that fare evasion is not, or does it just depend on which law thye use
 

bb21

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I am unwilling to speculate as to what consequences there might be as we do not know what you are going to be prosecuted under. Unfortunately from your account of things, you might well have incriminated yourself in your reply to their original letter and they might have changed their mind about which legislation to prosecute you under.

A guilty verdict under the Regulation of Railways Act 1889 is very serious indeed. It is recordable and will show up on any CRB checks that will be carried out which is a mandatory step before taking up employment in many industries.
 

Darandio

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I am willing to admit that I did not buy a ticket at university station so am liable to a penalty fare, so will be grudgingly accept one.
You really sent a letter that said that?

To be honest, it would have been better for you if you had joined this forum and sought advice before sending any letters. Although you were never going to receive advice that would "get you off", at least you could have been given help with a letter in order to settle before court.

As it stands now, with the time passed and the letters you have sent, I am not sure there is any way you can now avoid this going to court other than paying a fairly hefty sum to settle. Those with more expertise will be able to shed more light on that though.
 

Ferret

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How do you know there are hardly ever inspectors by the lifts?! All your actions on the day in question lead me to think that not only did you intend to avoid your fare on the day in question, but also on previous occasions too. No way would LM or Transport Investigations or whoever accept a settlement along the lines of the cost of a penalty fare plus admin costs for what is pretty blatant fare evasion, and be under no illusions - a Magistrate won't give you any credit for that offer either.

It is clearly in your interests to settle out of Court here, and the previous guideline offer mentioned earlier in this thread would be a good place to start.
 

Wath Yard

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Do you really believe that they have never checked tickets there before? I wouldn't mention that in your defence - or anyone might think you'd done this a few times...
Indeed. Having used New Street many times I have no idea where the exit to the lifts is, so for someone who has only done this once to know where the exit is, and that you usually don't get your ticket checked if you use them is curious.
 

221129

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Unfortunately i dont see any way of avoiding court unless by some stroke of luck an out of court settlement may be reached but i see that as highly unlikely
 

Ferret

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PS: Is anyone else tempted to forward on this thread to the company bringing the charges?
Well yes, but I'm not sure it's the done thing when somebody comes looking for help. However, the OP seems to show a total lack of respect for the proceedings, not to mention the person who caught him, whom I will know personally. And attempting to justify this blatant fare evasion by saying a disabled person would be doing the same is beyond a joke.

I don't find it surprising that this case is heading to Court, but I do disagree with those that have said that it's beyond salvation. That will need the OP to change his poor attitude, and take on board the enormity of what he's been caught doing.
 

GadgetMan

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I did also point out that if I came from alvechurch, a station on the line, and I was disabled I would have to do excatly what I did do as alvechurch has no ticket facilities and there is never a conductor on the train to buy a ticket of, so would have to leave via the lifts at new street and avoid a ticket.
Considering that on the train service involved there is a station at which no tickets can be brought I would have thought having a conductor on board the train who also made himself known would be a necessary as otherwise people from that station would not be able to buy their tickets.
Although the above has no relevance to you avoiding buying a ticket, how do you know the Guard had not carried out a full ticket check previous to picking you up at University?

The other possibility is, you travelled in from a station further away, but thinking you'd only be charged from University, you mentioned an inaccurate station only to have it bounce back in your face.

I would have also been willing to have been marched to the ticket office when I was stopped at new street, and buying a ticket to cover the journey but that option was never made available to me.
It is not the railway's job to chase you for the fare when you travel from a station with ticket issuing facilities. Otherwise, you'd pay on that occasion and then go back to fare evading on subsequent trips.

The RPI will have asked you whether the fare would've gone unpaid if they had not challenged you. Can you remember what your reply was?

Your letters to the railway don't do you any favours either, it's almost like you see them as an inconvenience and that they owe you a cheap get out clause.
 

RJ

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Then...



You just admited you DID avoid trying to pay a fare, now you're asking for advice from a forum full of honest fare paying passengers and the staff that you stole the service from to advise you on how to get out of the punishment for evading the fare?

Forgive me for thinking you're barking up the wrong tree here when you have admited guilt... (You're talking to someone who went and thanked Northern RPIs on the car park exit at Bolton for doing a good job and that it was about time)



That bares no relevance, as you didn't come from there.
Let he who is without sin cast the first stone. I don't think this pernicious attitude is conducive to the matter. This is a pro-consumer forum and so we should be helping people who are seeking advice - not casting aspersions on them.

Potterguy: It would appear that you have been caught. The lifts are a frequent target for revenue inspectors as they've been recognised as a way to circumvent the ticket inspectors. Using them when you have no ticket is tantamount to intentional fare evasion and so has been and will continue to be a basis for a successful prosecution. The Train Operating Company concerned appear to have declined your offer to settle out of court. You have nothing to lose by trying again but I would suggest seeking legal advice before doing so. In the likely event that they persist, the court case will be heard. Given that they're prosecuting under Section 5.3 of the Regulation of Railways Act 1889, you can expect a criminal record, a fine of approximately £350 - £400 and also have to pay a victim surcharge.

 

Nym

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Well yes, but I'm not sure it's the done thing when somebody comes looking for help. However, the OP seems to show a total lack of respect for the proceedings, not to mention the person who caught him, whom I will know personally. And attempting to justify this blatant fare evasion by saying a disabled person would be doing the same is beyond a joke.

I don't find it surprising that this case is heading to Court, but I do disagree with those that have said that it's beyond salvation. That will need the OP to change his poor attitude, and take on board the enormity of what he's been caught doing.
Nor is fare evasion, then asking a forum of enthusiasts on how to get away with it the done thing to be honest...

I'm sure the OP would learn his lesson if he was arrested on site by the BTP, put in the cells and given a summary conviction for it...
--- old post above --- --- new post below ---
This is a pro-consumer forum and so we should be helping people who are seeking advice - not casting aspersions on them.
You're not a consumer if you don't pay for the service when given every opportunity to do so.

He could have gone to the ticket office or gate line on the main concourse and bought a ticket easily, but he didn't.
 

GadgetMan

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Were you caught and questioned by an LM or XC Rpi? Can't comment on LM, but XC's prosecution firm has been known to settle out of court in cases where a successful prosecution was more or less guaranteed. I don't know what offers/payments were made to avoid court though so can't help you there.

I only know the above, because I was expecting to attend court as a witness, and then told the day before that the case had been settled out of court.
 

potterguy

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Were you caught and questioned by an LM or XC Rpi? Can't comment on LM, but XC's prosecution firm has been known to settle out of court in cases where a successful prosecution was more or less guaranteed. I don't know what offers/payments were made to avoid court though so can't help you there.

I only know the above, because I was expecting to attend court as a witness, and then told the day before that the case had been settled out of court.
From the orginal letter I got from TIL it seems to be a crosscountry man
 

island

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Indeed. Having used New Street many times I have no idea where the exit to the lifts is, so for someone who has only done this once to know where the exit is, and that you usually don't get your ticket checked if you use them is curious.
Most/all the platforms have lifts at one end and the exit from the lifts is outside the main ticket barrier.

I agree with RJ that we ought to be a little less officious towards the OP. He has (belatedly) realised the error of his ways. This may result in a severe restriction on his career for five years and a substantial restriction thereafter. I am not passing judgment but I think it would be great if people with nothing positive to add to the thread refrained from adding negatives instead.
 

Ferret

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Island - there's little more that can be added really. A couple of us have suggested what he should do next, the OP hasn't given any indication of how he intends to proceed. To avoid Court, a *very* contrite letter will need to be written, apologising for just about everything that he's done on the day in question and since, and offering a substantial settlement. It will then be up to the Prosecutor what happens next.
 

potterguy

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Most/all the platforms have lifts at one end and the exit from the lifts is outside the main ticket barrier.

I agree with RJ that we ought to be a little less officious towards the OP. He has (belatedly) realised the error of his ways. This may result in a severe restriction on his career for five years and a substantial restriction thereafter. I am not passing judgment but I think it would be great if people with nothing positive to add to the thread refrained from adding negatives instead.
Thank you Island, I know what I did was completely wrong and stupid, completely out of place for me, I know what ever happens I am going to get a large fine and shall be pleading guilty. Its something I would never dream of doing again and I only really came on here to get some advice on what I should do. And for those who say how do you know where the lifts are and not manned etc, I go back to my parents every summe/christmas and that normally involves taken a large rucksack, small rucksack and laptop bag with me on the train, I normally get a taxi to new street and because the stairs are quite small I take the lifts down the platforms, I always have my ticket because I get the advance ones beforehand. And everytime I have taken the lift I have never seen a ticket inspector.
--- old post above --- --- new post below ---
Island - there's little more that can be added really. A couple of us have suggested what he should do next, the OP hasn't given any indication of how he intends to proceed. To avoid Court, a *very* contrite letter will need to be written, apologising for just about everything that he's done on the day in question and since, and offering a substantial settlement. It will then be up to the Prosecutor what happens next.
I was going to ask you for advice about what I should do next. From reading around I seem to see that some advice is to wait for said letter, hopefully it should arrive tomorrow or monday, and start of with a phone call to the prosecutor, if you have any other advice I would be most gratful
 

Ferret

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I was going to ask you for advice about what I should do next. From reading around I seem to see that some advice is to wait for said letter, hopefully it should arrive tomorrow or monday, and start of with a phone call to the prosecutor, if you have any other advice I would be most gratful
Well, in your first post, you mention that what your Dad thinks is a summons has arrived. That's the last letter you are likely to recieve I think! You need to urgently find out what it says in that letter, whether it is indeed a summons and what the date of the Court hearing is.

I'm working on the assumption that it is a summons to Court to be honest - general rule of thumb is that if it looks like one, it is one. I'd start writing a letter expressing genuine remorse for your actions, and offering a proper settlement rather than offering to pay a £20 penalty fare, and get somebody from here to proof read it for you. Then I'd cross my fingers, hope for the best and never do anything as daft ever again!;)
 

yorkie

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... I only really came on here to get some advice on what I should do....
I don't think I can give any advice at this stage, as I do not know what they have sent to you, and it looks like you may have already sent letters offering to settle out of court? If the letters were not good enough for them to consider that option, then I am not sure what we can do now if they've rejected that offer.
 
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