West Midlands Railway

Discussion in 'Disputes & Prosecutions' started by jr07, 22 Oct 2018.

  1. jr07

    jr07 Member

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    21 Oct 2018
    Hello Admins/Moderators

    I’ve been contemplating of posting my issue here but it’s been >7 days now since this incident happened and it’s affecting my daily life. Until now I haven’t received any letter from the train company regarding a fare evasion. I have been a right mess and emotionally unstable.

    At this stage, do I need to wait for the letter from the train company or email them? Waiting for the letter and its content is devastating for me and makes me really anxious each day.

    Any thoughts or insights will be highly appreciated.

    Thank you!
     
    Last edited: 22 Oct 2018
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  3. Fawkes Cat

    Fawkes Cat Member

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    Welcome to the forum.

    We probably can't give you a great deal of comfort. Let's start with the really bad news: if the railway are looking to prosecute you, they have up to six months to get in touch with the courts - and even then, the courts can take a few weeks to get in touch with you. But that's the worst it can be: more realistically, it may be two or three months before you hear from the railway.

    That's still not good given that you're getting worried about this. So let's look at what's likely to happen. When the railway gets in touch with you, it seems that a lot of the time their first letter will talk about prosecution. But from feedback that we have received here, even at that point a lot of the railway companies will be prepared to let you settle out of court. That will involve you paying the train fare that you say you evaded, and also paying the costs that the train company has incurred investigating the case. So you will be paying them up to a few hundreds of pounds.

    If the railways do take you to court, then you'll probably worry about what might happen. You might win at court, although since you have said above that it is 'a fare evasion' I think you are accepting that you dodged a fare - and if you did that, then you don't really have a leg to stand on at court.

    If you lose, you will face paying a fine, plus the railway's costs, plus a 'victim surcharge' which is the fare you should have paid. If you look closely at the law, you will see that in theory fare dodging can lead to you going to prison. But in practice it doesn't. So you won't go to prison.

    And (again, if you lose at court) you may end up with a criminal record. But that doesn't have to be life changing. If you ever need a DBS (Disclosure and Barring Service) clearance, you will have to admit to your criminal record - but most employers, voluntary organisations and so on will accept that sometimes people do stupid things. They get a lot more worried if you try to hide a criminal record, because that's continuing dishonesty.

    So we can't tell you that the railways will be in touch with you soon. But even if they do their worst and throw the book at you, your life will not be ruined. So try to keep calm, learn from this that fare evasion is not a good idea, and otherwise try to get on with your life until the railways get in touch with you.
     
  4. jr07

    jr07 Member

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    21 Oct 2018
    Thank you so much for this! This is really quite reassuring. It’s just the waiting game. I will be relocating in 3 months’ time, and if there’s still no letter from them, should I inform the prosecution department of change of address?

    Many thanks again for your reply.
     
  5. cuccir

    cuccir Established Member

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    We can't give much meaningful advice without more details as to what happened.

    If you can answer the questions in this post then we can tell you more.
     
  6. Kite159

    Kite159 Veteran Member

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    If you haven't heard within 3 months, then it might be safer to set up mail redirection from the Royal Mail (https://www.royalmail.com/personal/receiving-mail/redirection/) so if they do try and get in touch the letters will be forwarded to your new address
     
  7. jr07

    jr07 Member

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    21 Oct 2018
    I will definitely update this thread once I have received the letter from them and I’m pretty much sure you guys will be a great help by then. I’m sorry if I couldn’t give more details. Once I have received their letter, I will feedback to this thread and will post my draft letter as well. I really do appreciate that this post is gathering views and comments so far.
     
  8. jr07

    jr07 Member

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    21 Oct 2018
    I have thought of that too but sometimes my brain overthinks and it’ll just shut down and suppress everything that happened that day. To be honest, I was shaking that time and my handwriting was so bad that they needed to confirm the details I gave. Now I’m thinking that I haven’t given my complete address! So just making sure if they have sent a letter already but I haven’t received it. I just don’t want to be in that situation where they think that I’m ignoring them. This is me overthinking.
     
    Last edited: 22 Oct 2018
  9. stuart

    stuart Member

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    Location:
    Highlands of Scotland
    The Royal Mail are pretty good at delivering letters, even if you've accidentally given an incomplete address. So long as it wasn't a deliberately false address (and I can tell from your other posts that you wouldn't have done that) then you should be fine. While you are waiting for the letter, have a look at some of the other posts in this forum, which will give you a good idea of what to expect and how to deal with it. The general rule seems to be: admit your mistake, say you are very sorry and won't do it again, and ask for a settlement to cover their costs and (or course) the original fare due.
     
  10. 6Gman

    6Gman Established Member

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    Of course, it does rather depend on what exactly happened.

    It would be helpful if jr07 could give a few details.

    Did the station where you joined have a booking office or ticket machines?
    Did you have a ticket of any sort?
    How were you approached? On the train or at your destination station?
    What was then said?

    The reaction of the train operator and the advice we can give will very much depend on the circumstances of the incident.
     
  11. jr07

    jr07 Member

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    Hello Guys,

    Since I have created this thread, I have not received any letters from the Rail Company. To date, it has been more than 6 months since the incident happened. Do you think they did not push through the case to the court? Any thoughts? Thank you as always!
     
  12. Fawkes Cat

    Fawkes Cat Member

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    Given the time that has passed, I think you can be reasonably certain that no further action will be taken. Stop worrying, and get on with the rest of your life (but remember to always pay the right train fare).

    There's a slim chance that the railway did prosecute you but couldn't contact you, which could mean there's a fine outstanding against you. But once again - don't worry. There's a procedure to follow if you missed your day in court by accident: if the railway do start chasing you for a fine, come back and we will talk you through the process.
     
  13. jr07

    jr07 Member

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    Hi Fawkes Cat,

    Many thanks for taking the time to reply. I live in a different address now and I have redirected all my mails and I have not received any letter from them. My only worry is if there's a court order or they are intending to prosecute me, in the future, will it show up on my enhanced DBS check if there's any conviction? Thanks!
     
  14. ForTheLoveOf

    ForTheLoveOf Established Member

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    If there is a conviction in your absence then a Regulation of Railways Act conviction would likely get onto your record. However, it appears that in most cases (correctly or otherwise), Byelaw prosecutions do not.

    Mail redirection generally works fairly well, so you should be aware if a prosecution is proposed.
     
  15. Fawkes Cat

    Fawkes Cat Member

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    If there's a conviction, it will probably show up on an enhanced DBS check: but before you worry too much
    - there's some debate on this forum as to whether bylaw convictions always show up, but it's safer to assume that it will. A conviction under the Regulation of Railways Act will show up
    - as I've put above, it seems to me much more likely than not that the railway have not sought to prosecute you, so there won't be anything to appear on an enhanced DBS check
    - even if a conviction does appear on an enhanced DBS check, there are very few jobs or volunteer roles where this will automatically lead to you being refused a job or dismissed. Most employers / universities / schools / whatever are interested in whether you are essentially a reliable person that they can trust with their customers / clients / pupils / trade secrets / assets / whatever. One conviction does not show that you are essentially unreliable: it just shows that you are human and made a mistake. What might give them a problem would be a pattern of poor judgement. So trying to cover up a conviction (when taken with the conviction) would look like a pattern (not only did you get a conviction for a railway ticketing offence, but you didn't tell the organisation about it when they asked). Given that you don't know (and can only assume) whether you've been taken to court, this puts you in a rather difficult position: the only suggestion I can make, should someone seek an enhanced DBS check on you, is to explain that as far as you know you have no convictions, but there was this problem with the railways in October 2018, and although you don't think you were prosecuted, it's possible that you were and the court letters never got to you as you had changed address. I would expect that this would give the organisation the impression that you were being fully open with them, and they would see this as a good thing.

    The short version - don't worry. There's probably nothing out there.
     
  16. jr07

    jr07 Member

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    Hi Fawkes Cat,

    Thank you so much for your response it is really reassuring. I am on DBS Update service (enhanced) and my DBS status is being updated whenever there is new information added. So far, there is no new information added which is also reassuring. Again, many thanks for your response, I really do appreciate it.
     

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