What am I being Prosecuted for?

Discussion in 'Disputes & Prosecutions' started by kaygee276, 9 Jan 2017.

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  1. kaygee276

    kaygee276 Member

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    Today I bought a weekly season ticket at a machine at Huntingdon rail station (to kings Cross). I was in a mega rush so I guessed my Railcard number. I always remember the first three letters, and I admit I guessed at the last 4 numbers. It was paid for on a bank card, not cash, and I received the ticket and the receipt.

    I rushed to my train - wish I hadn't bother as the tube strike made my life hell! A ticket inspector checked my ticket on the way to Kings Cross station - not a bother.

    Came home earlier, and about 3 minutes out of Huntingdon train station an inspector was checking tickets again. I showed my ticket and he checked the railcard number. It was different by the last 4 digits... my bad guess!
    He took my ticket and railcard off me, and we ended up with him filling in the form on the station platform as I needed to get off the train at Huntingdon.
    He never once asked to see the receipt, nor the card that I paid for it with, nor was he interested in me and hm going to the office to swap things out and make it correct.
    Nope he cautioned me, and wrote down what I said, in that it was an honest mistake and he can check my bank card and receipt.
    Finally I was given the chance to sign against what he wrote down as my statement. I signed it... I was so furious I can't believe I didn't swear once!
    I reiterated that if I was being fraudulent then why would I offer to show all the evidence. He was such a jobsworth but had no interest in my side of things.
    This was a good 'collar' to him obviously.
    I was given a tiny slip of paper from the bottom of the form he completed and was told that the Prosecutions Dept would be in touch!
    I am now left with no ticket, no railcard - nothing but a really bad mood! :-x

    So what is the charge here? The 'Inspector' never told me what I was being prosecuted for.

    Looking at Great Northern's Website, this doesn't fit with any of their prosecution types listed.

    I would really appreciate any feedback as to what will happen next and what course of action I may have with this.
    Can I email the prosecution team in advance?
     
  2. bb21

    bb21 Moderator Staff Member Moderator

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    The number you type in at the time of purchase is the only link between the Photocard and the ticket. As your Photocard number does not match the number on the season ticket, unless you can prove that this season ticket was not purchased for use by someone else, the revenue inspector was doing the entirely correct thing.

    Bad mistake, and you only have yourself to blame, sorry to say this.

    You were unable to deliver a valid ticket for your journey, so that is a pretty clear Byelaw offence. You were arguably also attempting to travel fraudulently without paying (as you cannot prove that the ticket was not originally purchased for use by someone else bearing the Photocard number on the ticket), so a more serious fare evasion offence as defined by the Regulation of Railways Act.
     
  3. kaygee276

    kaygee276 Member

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    The fact that I had the receipt for the ticket, and the bank card I used to pay for it?
    The name on the season ticket is the same as the bank card... why couldn't he simply check this?? He was simply not interested in looking at either of them.
     
  4. theblackwatch

    theblackwatch Moderator Staff Member Moderator

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    I would think also if the way you reacted to him was similar to the reaction you have shown here (jobsworth, furious etc), you may have failed the 'attitude test'. You appear to still be blaming him far something that was your fault. If this does lead to a prosecution, it would probably not be advisable to continue this attitude in court, but to actually explain the facts.
     
  5. kaygee276

    kaygee276 Member

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    I was perfectly civil with him. Yes I was seething underneath but to him I answered all of his questions, hid nothing, and offered evidence that I had purchased the ticket in good faith.

    Of course I am angry typing this out. I am now without a ticket for the rest of the week and out of pocket over £125 - most people would be angry.

    If I am cautioned by a ticket inspector, do they not need to tell me what the offence is?
    If this was the police then that certainly would be the case.
     
  6. bb21

    bb21 Moderator Staff Member Moderator

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    That is proof that you purchased a ticket. Even if you can prove that the payment was for the ticket you held, how can you prove that you did not originally purchase it for someone else and you were sharing the same ticket fraudulently?

    If you can get an out-of-court settlement from them then I would consider this a good result.

    As I said, you were entirely to blame for this mess and no one else. Put it down as one of life's little lessons. If you were late for the train, then you were late for the train. If you need to buy a ticket, arriving at the station a couple of minutes before departure time will mostly mean you are too late (regardless of why you were late). If you make assumptions in life (as in assuming that the Photocard number did not matter in this case), then sometimes you will run into problems.
     
  7. najaB

    najaB Veteran Member

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    Did the railcard number match the ticket or not? If not, you didn't have a valid ticket, simple as that.
     
  8. bb21

    bb21 Moderator Staff Member Moderator

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    No as it is not at the stage of prosecutions yet. They are simply gathering relevant evidence at this stage. The caution was simply to tell you that there is a possibility they could proceed with a prosecution, and what you say can be used as evidence.
     
  9. reb0118

    reb0118 Established Member Fares Advisor

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    At this stage it seems that you have not been prosecuted nor indeed charged with any offence but merely that a report has been submitted by the inspector for perusal by his superiors to see if any further action is applicable.

    There are many potential outcomes to this scenario ranging from the railway accepting your story and returning your ticket, with the proviso that you fill in the photocard number correctly in future, you may or may not be able to claim back the cost of any tickets purchased to travel whilst the matter is under investigation so do not throw these away.

    At the other end of the scale the railway may feel it has enough evidence to initiate a prosecution against you, most likely a bylaw offence - see our section on railway ticketing offences https://r.tapatalk.com/shareLink?ur...&share_tid=71833&share_fid=12773&share_type=t

    RailUK Fares & Ticketing Guide - Section 8 - Legal

    I have a question: were you asked to pay a fare, either regular or penalty, or did the inspector go straight to the "report" stage?

    Regardless, and I do realise that it is easy for me to say this, try to get this in perspective as even a bylaw conviction will have no real detriment to most people's lives. Albeit there may be a financial and/or "sense of injustice" element.

    IMO the next stage will be you receiving correspondence from the railway asking for your side of the story.

    Do not respond with emotion, nor comment on the inspector's "attitude". Keep it factual, concise, & coherent.

    Before replying feel free to post your response, redacting any personal detains as required, for one of the members to "proof read".

    Good luck.

    Sent from my SM-N910F using Tapatalk
     
  10. kaygee276

    kaygee276 Member

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    Hi Reb0118,

    You asked "were you asked to pay a fare, either regular or penalty, or did the inspector go straight to the "report" stage?"

    No, he didn't ask me to pay anything - he went straight to the report stage.
     
  11. Matt2292

    Matt2292 New Member

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    Having read the evidence presented and some of the replies relating to it, I can't help but feel sorry for the chap under prosecution. Admittedly he purchased a ticket using the wrong rail card number, but his intentions behind this were innocent enough and there was no underlying motive to act fraudulently or in some way that would have ultimately benefited himself or defrauded the TOC. Irrespective of what ticket number input in to the machine, the journey price would have been the same amount. I myself buy a season ticket, and have encountered many disputes with 'jobs worth' guards (mainly over the fact that mine is heavily used and often faded because of this, in fact I've been accused of it being fake !). What they have to understand is that we're only human, you can say 'oh well if you were 5 minutes early or didn't make assumptions about your ticket number etc etc etc... but often life gets in the way and sometimes one needs to take a level minded and fair approach to this.

    Ultimately yes, it was wrong to do what you did. But the train company still received their money so it's a win win for them as no doubt you'll be forced to purchase another ticket. I wish you all the very best with regards to this case. Stuff like this makes me question the world we live in, common sense and reasonability seem to be skills today's society have abandoned.
     
  12. najaB

    najaB Veteran Member

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    Please don't think that this means anything was wrong with the inspector's action - the fact that your rail card (photocard?) didn't match your ticket was enough evidence to prepare a report.
     
  13. bb21

    bb21 Moderator Staff Member Moderator

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    We can all feel sorry for the OP and it is cheap to say "Oh I sympathise".

    None of that helps him in any shape or form. What he needs urgently is advice, not sympathy, especially when he has a very misplaced understanding of where responsibility lies by blaming the revenue inspector who is doing everything by the book from what has been described.

    Everything you said may well be true, but none of it helps his case in any shape or form. If you want to challenge the system, join a campaign group and try making that happen. If enough people bothered, things would change. Until then, we play by the current rules. As things currently stand, "life getting in the way of things" is not a valid excuse for making this mistake, and the cold hard truth in this case is that there is no one else to blame. He had the choice of waiting for the next train (and potentially be late for work, etc) or rush through the purchase and jump on the train in the platform and take a chance on not being caught for however long the ticket is valid for. He made the wrong choice, and that in life has consequences sometimes.

    Until there is correspondence received from the train company, little else can be done for now.
     
  14. AlterEgo

    AlterEgo Established Member

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    Indeed. This is looked upon very seriously by revenue staff.

    Anecdote alert:

    I used to work for Virgin WC, who were notoriously prosecution-averse. The only case I ever knew for certain that they prosecuted was that of someone travelling on season ticket which did not match their photocard. Two chaps involved: one falsely reported his season ticket as lost and gave it to his his commuting mate (who of course had paid nothing, and had a different photocard number) so there were two season tickets in circulation with the same photocard number. It was a fraud of several thousand pounds' value and Virgin were successful with a RoRA prosecution after the plaintiff failed to settle.

    Reason for the anecdote is: cases like that are why "season ticket does not match photocard" rings huge alarm bells and you are likely to be reported.

    OP: In your case, there are several factors which lead me to believe you will be prosecuted for a lesser Byelaw offence rather than a serious RoRA offence:

    1) This is a weekly season - these have no value if reported lost, so the scam I described above is not something they can reasonably suspect you of.

    2) You can prove you paid for the ticket and therefore it is unlikely they can suspect you of picking up a lost of discarded ticket.

    3) There is no evidence they can bring, of you deliberately attempting to avoid any fare.


    Wait to hear from them and let us know how you get on.
     
  15. anme

    anme Established Member

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    AlterEgo's story actually suggests if the TOC does decide to take action, the OP will very likely be given a chance to settle out of court. From what we have heard, this is a far less serious case and prosecution for any offence is far from certain (although it cannot be ruled out).
     
  16. AlterEgo

    AlterEgo Established Member

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    Yes - substitute "will" for "may be" in my quote there. I rate the OP's chances of being offered a settlement as reasonably good.
     
  17. Parham Wood

    Parham Wood Member

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    I feel sorry for the OP, but it was rather silly to guess. This raises the same issue but if you accidentally typed in the wrong number perhaps if you had poor eyesight. You would end up in the same situation. The only way the railway will lose here if the ticket is shared by people who travel on different days and share the ticket. I suppose someone will do it and I suppose if allowed many more could. In essence the correct ticket was presented with a railcard but the numbers did not match. It is rather annoylingly pedantic IMO but I accept rules are rules.
     
  18. bb21

    bb21 Moderator Staff Member Moderator

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    If it is obvious some consecutive digits were swapped, or that a digit was missing or incorrectly typed, discretion would normally be exercised.
     
  19. kaygee276

    kaygee276 Member

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    Thank you for the replies, and thank you for the support from some of you.
    I will of course wait to see what happens, and wait to be contacted by the Prosecution Office.
    I know that this was a silly thing to do, and yes being in a rush, as some of us are sometimes, didn't help my plight when I bought my weekly season ticket.
    The mix up was the last 4 digits... the first three letters were correct, but the last 4 numbers were jumbled, completely the wrong order.

    The ticket inspector could see clearly from my photo card that it was me, he saw my drivers licence too, and it was clear the the last 4 numbers on my ticket were jumbled up.
    I feel that the treatment was harsh in this case, and a little humanity and discretion would have been nice.
    And you're correct. I had to buy a ticket today, and will have to for the rest of the week, so it's win win for them.
     
  20. Timrud

    Timrud Member

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    If the ticket is invalid due to non-matching numbers, is it a strict liability offence?
     
  21. najaB

    najaB Veteran Member

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    Yes, Byelaw 18 - boarding a train to travel without a valid ticket.
     
  22. jon0844

    jon0844 Veteran Member

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    If the photo was obvious, I guess the RPI could still take the ticket and photocard for a proper check (to see if either were tampered with) and look up the details supplied when the ticket was purchased, but then take no further action if everything checked out, besides making sure the ticket was re-issued with the correct number. Put the details on file, case closed.

    At the end of the day, the fuss was caused by incorrectly guessing a rather important number. Just as you would be well advised to check bank account details properly before accepting payment, or making one to someone else's details.

    Ultimately, just ignoring the issue and saying 'best get the ticket changed mate' might sound great, but what if there was something untoward going on?

    I can imagine that I could do the same fraud if I so wanted. I have my photocard and get my wife one. Chances are the numbers will be fairly similar if I got both the same day.

    Get my season and put on the right number. Write on my name as initial, surname. Her firstname begins J too. So J Morris would work for both.

    Now she borrows my ticket and uses her photocard that doesn't match. Gets stopped, and says 'whoops, I must have mistyped my number' and hopes to get let off...

    Clearly the photo and any other ID she would be carrying would match her face - it's the ticket that isn't actually hers. Even the address would check out. Where it would fail is if she gave her full name, which wouldn't then match the details on the application.

    And so it's right that there's an investigation IMO.
     
  23. Fare-Cop

    Fare-Cop Member

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    Title of thread = "What am I being prosecuted for?"

    I cannot see any evidence that the OP is being prosecuted.

    So, the emotively worded title seems intended to catch all of our collective attention and make us believe that someone has been dealt with wrongly and is being prosecuted.

    In the OP's own words, the inspector simply said 'the Prosecutions department will be in touch'.

    I agree, it might have been better if the inspector had said 'the company will be in touch', but he did not say 'You will be prosecuted', which is the inference given by the OP's choice of words in his title.



    That said, the best that can be done is to do as others have suggested. Buy tickets and keep them in hope that they can be refunded, wait for the letter from the TOC and be honest in your reply.

    The inspector followed the proper process and 'blame' cannot be apportioned to anyone else through indignation, or any other feeling of dissatisfaction.

    In simple terms, the OP consciously 'took a chance' and contributory negligence is the important factor in getting to where things are now.

    Hopefully, the TOC will accept your version of events and maybe you can achieve a mutually satisfactory resolution without further action.
     
    Last edited: 11 Jan 2017
  24. Pinza-C55

    Pinza-C55 Member

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    I think a non railway employee would reasonably infer that the phrase "the prosecutions department will be in touch" means "you are going to be prosecuted".
     
  25. DynamicSpirit

    DynamicSpirit Established Member

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    While that is correct, I wonder to what extent that was made clear by the machine that issued the ticket? If the machine - when issuing a railcard season - displays an impossible-to-miss message pointing out that typing in the wrong number would result in the ticket being invalid and an attempt to travel with it being considered fraud, then the TOC would have a strong case. But I'm guessing the machine isn't programmed to do anything like that. If the machine asked for the railcard number without giving any indication of the importance of this information (and realistically, many passengers may genuinely not realize the importance of those numbers), the TOC's case against the OP becomes much weaker (and I wonder if you could even argue that the ticket would have been mis-sold?)
    --- old post above --- --- new post below ---
    I would presume the TOC must also have some means of checking the number that was on the OP's ticket, to see if it matches any photo-id cards currently in use (I would hope there is a database of photo-id numbers somewhere)? And I wonder whether, if so, that might influence their actions. Best case for the OP would seem to be that the number turns out not to match any photocard that exists. Worst case is that it matches a photocard owned by someone who lives in the same locality, which would arouse greater suspicions of fraud.
     
    Last edited: 12 Jan 2017
  26. najaB

    najaB Veteran Member

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    The machine would have asked the OP to enter their photocard number and they entered a different number - can't see how it was miss sold.
     
  27. jon0844

    jon0844 Veteran Member

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    Indeed, it would make the ticket valid for the owner of the photo ID you entered. Perhaps you were buying it for someone else?

    I store a lot of useful information on Google Keep. Security isn't fantastic so I don't recommend PIN numbers or anything, but it's perfect for stuff like this. Especially as you can take a photo of the photo card and store that.
     
  28. DaleCooper

    DaleCooper Established Member

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    Or you could look at the photo card.
     
  29. boxy321

    boxy321 Member

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    The letters I get each month emphasize that I must enter the photocard number on both tickets. This is further printed on each ticket (see attached).

    Valid only with Photocard No.

    If it said,

    Enter a number, any number

    I could understand it.
     

    Attached Files:

  30. daikilo

    daikilo Established Member

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    Me too, but when photocards came out they were a means of identification with booking offices. The photo went with the name, not the number.

    One solution would be for the machine to block when the number clearly did not correspond with the name. An alternatuve, which I would favour, is that the photocard is read by a card reader so that no mistake can occur.
     
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