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Discussion in 'Disputes & Prosecutions' started by Joy777, 23 Mar 2020 at 22:25.
Could you please clarify: did you at the time have a valid 16-25 railcard?
Could you also please clarify this - how is panic relevant to producing her railcard, if you took the card with you in order to use it?
Taking the wrong card out is not really serious assuming you have a valid card yourself, simple mistake, you are entitled to discount so fare is correct.
Whether you had on that day a valid card yourself is key here. If you do then you should clearly state so, including enough details for them to check. It will help persuade them that the first mistake was genuine (ie you mistakenly took the wrong card with you). If you don’t then the only conclusion can be (as far as I can see) that your actions were deliberate from the outset and thus you would be best advised not to mention the subject.
apols to the OP if I have this wrong but I presumed that the OP did not have a railcard (but had not actually noticed that her sister's railcard which she intended to use was also expired) - however, it is hard for the OP not to mention this whilst admitting they gave false details (of a relative in this case) as I assume the name on the railcard was used by the inspector as the ID for the penalty details, and the OP, in the heat of the moment - went along with that - but now regrets the whole thing.
This is accurate
Joy - it may also be a good idea for you to go and get a railcard now - may not make any difference to things but if they were to cross check anything (not sure that they can actually) at least the fact that you had one would re-inforce the line of argument that you had learned your lesson and would not do it again - as you would not be able to as you have a valid railcard. As you probably know you can but them on line or over the counter at any station ticket office.
To re-iterate the perjury issue: Whatever you do, *if* you do end up in court *do not lie about your identity* (or any other matter - but lying about your identity is particularly bad since there is no defence that you were - say - unaware you were lying).
Perjury is miles above *anything* else you may have done in terms of seriousness, there is a high chance of prison and you will have a conviction that may seriously affect many careers. So don't even consider this as an option.
So, having established that you didn't have your own railcard, I think the wording in your letter where you describe being panicked as you were looking in your purse, and that it was your sister's old purse, is highly misleading, and I suspect deliberately so. It's suggesting that you were expecting to find your railcard in there, and instead found your sister's, when of course you knew you wouldn't as you don't have one.
Remembering that you are looking to have a career in FS, and my comments about integrity, integrity, integrity, think very carefully whether you want such a statement to potentially be put before a court. The investigating team may well know you don't have a railcard already, and if they think you are trying to explain it all away as an accident when in fact it was deliberate, that will no doubt lean them towards prosecution. And again, any comments in the letter about learning your lesson will count for nothing if elsewhere you are perceived to be trying to pull the wool over their eyes as to what was in your mind that morning.
You probably think some of our questioning and comments are harsh, but better that you hear them here than in the magistrates court.
good points, what would be a better approach for the OP to put in her draught response would you think. I suppose it relates to the 1st para of that draught that would thus need amending.
How about "When approached by the inspector and asked for my ticket and railcard, I produced a railcard that was not only out of date, but was in the name of my sister. When he noticed it was out of date I panicked and gave my sister's details, in the hope that this would avoid further complicating the situation I was in. I do realise that this was totally inappropriate, and has only made matters worse. Accordingly I have responded rather than my sister, and ask that any future correspondence is with me."
Very helpful I'd have thought.
The basic truth expressed in a simple and straightforward way in the words of the person who was involved in the incident. When in a hole, stop digging and be very mindful of the law on perjury.
Dear Prosecutors at Greater Anglia,
On [ ] I boarded a train from [ ] to [ ] during super off-peak hours with my train leaving the first station at around 10am. When approached by the inspector and asked for my ticket and railcard, I produced a railcard that was not only out of date, but was in the name of my sister. When he noticed it was out of date I panicked and gave my sister's details, in the hope that this would avoid further complicating the situation I was in. I do realise that this was totally inappropriate and has only made matters worse. Accordingly, I have responded rather than my sister, and ask that any future correspondence is with me. I have filled out the form with the correct/MY details.
I fully accept all responsibility for my actions here, I am now aware that such actions contribute to significant financial losses to rail providers each year, and that these also have an impact on other fare paying passengers. I genuinely regret how negligent and irresponsible my actions were. That same day I bought a new ticket to return and I’m in the process of ordering a railcard. I can most definitely say that this is not a mistake that I will EVER knowingly repeat again as I have learned significantly from my actions and wish to apologise for them.
If this matter could be settled out of court I am more than willing to pay all costs and fares that are linked to this mistake, including admin fees and all others associated with this. I am genuinely regretful and apologetic that it has come to this, but I hope this can be settled.
Does this suffice as an honest explanation. - or do I make it more explicit in my explanation that I didn't have a rail card?
What can I add?
Thank you all for your help and support so far - it has been very helpful!
It’s certainly better. It would help if you could say I have since bought a railcard (so long as you have ordered and paid for it, that is an accurate statement) - saying your are in the process of ordering one makes it obvious you are only now doing it, when the incident happened some time ago.
Sweet, I’ve amended this aspect and have paid for a railcard online.
Any other suggestions at all?
I think this is a fair account - and the point Brissle Girl makes about the railcard is a helpful tweak.
Also is there any prosecutors or inspectors with any knowledge on the likely outcome of this situation?
My fear is that this could also be used as evidence if taken to court so realistically is it a good idea?
I would suggest that the best evidence is the truth, rather than (to be blunt) the lies you had previously provided. Trying to put things right shouldn't be seen as a bad thing.
Also should I write “without prejudice” at the top? Apparently this prevents the courts from using it as evidence IF it was to go to court?
No idea about that actually - but since they can take you to court if they want to do so it might serve to provoke them into doing just that...
and since there can be no dispute that you had an out of date railcard (whoever's name it was in) there isn't going to be much argument in court over the offence you have committed anyway.
There is also the fact that you made other trips with the railcard.
Conceivably this might be viewed as less serious than in a similar case where the person is not eligible for a railcard. It could be said that the total avoided amount is no more than £30.
It isn't quite as simple as that, because the person who uses an invalid railcard has the advantage of not committing themselves in advance to the £30. But it might be relevant. Again, whether/when you consult a lawyer is up to you.
I’m a bit confused at this?
I ended up writing it just in case and have already posted it as I hadn't received this response by then - do I panic now?
If you want to come clean and pay the fares you owe, then you would admit to the other trips.
A court might take some account of this: If you had bought a railcard costing only £30 a year, the company would have ended up with the right amount of money for all the trips
(if you only did it for a few months or less).
So a court might think it isn't quite as bad as if you weren't eligible at all for a railcard. In that case, you might have avoided much more than £30 in fares.
But it's still repeated dishonesty. Also, you can't reasonably just argue "it's only £30". That's because your dishonesty gave you an extra benefit - you could just take trips without ever committing yourself to buying a railcard, and just get smaller benefits each time.
Because it isn't very straightforward, if you were to put forward this kind of argument, a solicitor might be better placed than you to make it.
Why are you concerned that the case you have made might be used in court? Is that general anxiety or is there something else that needs to be clear?
You wouldn't necessarily have to make that argument explicitly, particularly as you've told them you have now bought a railcard.
The main point here is that what you did wasn't as bad (it seems to me) as it would be in a case where the person wasn't eligible.
The repeated use is basically a separate matter. You didn't say whether there was any question about this at the time. I don't know whether the fact that you were also dishonest in claiming to be your sister might make someone more suspicious, and so prompt inquiries in future about whether you had used the card before.
Apart from anything else, it isn't necessarily better for you as a person to present the story as if it was just one time.
No - don't panic - you've done it now and I doubt it is a big deal. All you can do is wait and see what response you get as the next stage. Feel free to come back to the forum for further advice when you need it. In the mean time stay safe!
I’m not going to lie I’m still a bit confused as your argument isn’t following logically to me?
I don’t know where I argued “it’s only £30” - hyperbole or not, this is not the argument or message that I was trying to get across in my letter, so how does this relate to anything. If you could clarify it will be much appreciated.
As far as I’m concerned, I’ve given all the facts needed. Unfortunately I can’t afford a solicitor and from the advice I’ve received in here, I haven’t been told to mention the trips as it is a given that they can use their systems to identify how many times I’ve travelled without it. In the letter I also have mentioned that I am willing to pay “all costs associated with this mistake” which should point at me paying the difference for all the times I have travelled without a railcard, should they draw it out which is probably likely.
In my previous posts, I’ve asked about how severe my punishment would be i.e what’s the worst case scenario so that I am mentally prepared and can prepare accordingly. I have given ALL information that pertains to my case so that this can be gauged accurately by those providing help. Therefore my concern or anxiety is most definitely relevant in this situation due to the fear of unknown - not because of any hidden information.
I hope this makes sense.
I think your asking whether I’m eligible for a railcard? If that’s the question then yes I’m am eligible for a 16-25railcard which I have purchased.
I’ve just read the second part and you are essentially saying it would have been advisable to mention the 3 other times I had used the railcard? When I asked earlier, I was told it was unnecessary to do so.
Is there anything I can do now as I have already posted the letter.
No, leave it now. If you weren’t asked then you have not lied, nor said anything that seeks to misrepresent the truth.