Some advice needed please.
I've posted this on one other forum on a different site already but received conflicting opinions about what I should do.
I'm posting here too in the hope that someone may be able to offer something more concrete on how I should proceed.
On Friday I received a Notice of Intention to prosecute from FCC.
The notice stated that on the date in question and at time.....my details were taken by a RPI.
No offence is mentioned, only that my details were taken.
It then continues to say:
'This letter is to inform you of our intention to take this case to the Magistrates Court
and the enclosed form provides you with the opportunity to tell us what happened from your own point of view. Information should be both factual and honest.'
A list of potential penalties that the court can issue is then given.
I continued to read on to the section entitled
'Details of Offence' which read:
'On the above date you were stopped and questioned in regard to the following alleged offence(s):
' beneath this statement it is just blank, nothing is written, i.e. they have not stated details of any offence once again.
I am then asked to provide my own statement of what happened.
Can anyone enlighten me as to what this amounts to,
in respect of the fact that I have not been told what offence they allege I have committed and what they intend to prosecute me for?
Are they looking for a statement from me incriminating myself before they decide how to proceed?
The reason I had details taken is that on the date in question
I was pulled by an RPI for the offence of being in first class on a standard class ticket, returning to Stevenage from Finsbury Park (1 stop, 17 mins).
In hindsight it was stupid to do that,
but I should point out that I only entered first class as the rest of the carriage (standard class) was full and 1st was empty.
On entering the train I had every intention to sit in standard.
Looking back I should of stood up, but stupidly I didn't.
When approached by the RPI I explained why I sat in 1st and offered immediately to leave and stand in standard for the remainder of the journey.
I was told that he could not allow this and that I would have to pay the penalty fare.
I explained that I could not pay there and then and so he cautioned me and explained that the matter would likely go to court.
Having not been in this situation before and not knowing if this was normal or not I just accepted and waited for the letter to come through.
Now that I have that letter no offence is mentioned, only that my details were taken.
I feel like I should not make any statement without having been notified of the exact offence that I am being prosecuted for
so that at a legal level I know what I am accused of before I make a statement.
Am I within my rights to withold my statement at this time and is that the best approach?
I am not trying to dodge any fine here and I am more than willing to pay the fine/fare to have this matter resolved,
but does this kind of thing count as an admistrative error on the part of FCC which would see the case get thrown out of court anyway?
Any help would be much appreciated.