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Hello there,

 

Reading through this forum has been really useful, so I will try to avoid covering old ground. But I'd really appreicate your advice on my situation, Underground.

 

In a nutshell, I was recently caught and written up for travelling on an overground train wthout a ticket. There was a long queue at the train station and, after waiting five or six minutes, my train arrived and I stupidly decided to bolt for it.

 

When I got to my destination I saw that there were ticket inspectors inside the station. I totally panicked and started walking back toward the platform, not knowing what to do. Naturally I was intercepted by an inspector at this point.

 

He began to question me straight away, and I admitted that I had failed to buy a ticket after rushing for the train, and had panicked on seeing the inspectors. He sat me down to take my details - he did caution me, but did not state that I was not obliged to remain with him.

 

Before long he let me go. As I walked into the station I was asked for a ticket by one of a team of inspectors checking tickets of everyone leaving the platform. I stated that I didn't have one, and was told to pay a penalty fare. I informed the inspector that I had just been written up on the platform, but she proceeded to issue me with the penalty fare, which I paid.

 

Like others on this forum, I am in a profession that would mean a conviction would be devastating to my future employment prospects. I intend to plead stupidity and panic when the letter comes, and to state quite honsetly that this is my first offence.

 

Any advice would be appreciated, but my specific query is around me being written up and then subsequently being made to pay a Penalty Fare. Given that I have already been penalised once for my offence, would it be appropriate for me to potentially punished again should they choose to prosecute. Is it worth me citing this in my letter to them (along with the inspector's failure to inform me that I was not obliged to stay, the threat to my career of a criminal conviction and - of course - my genuine embarassment and contrition)?

 

As I said, any pointers or strategies appreciated to help me out of this stupid pickle I have got myself into...

 

Thanks!:-|

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It was your lucky day, you obviously met the team numpty.

When they write to you just enclose a copy of the penalty fare and that will be an end to the matter, they will not prosecute you.

 

Over to you Underground.

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It was your lucky day, you obviously met the team numpty.

When they write to you just enclose a copy of the penalty fare and that will be an end to the matter, they will not prosecute you.

 

Over to you Underground.

 

SRPO is spot on of course.

 

If it's inside 21 days since the incident, theoretically at least, they could cancel the PF and send your payment back but that's about as likely as me hitting the Moon with a snowball before tea-time today!

 

You have nothing to worry about.

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Hello Guys

 

That would be brilliant if it turns out to be the case. It has been a couple of weeks since the incident, and I am still yet to recieve a letter. I guess I will just sit tight and wait for the letter, and then make my case when it arrives.

 

Thanks for your help - it is very much appreciated. Fingers crossed!

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  • 2 weeks later...

Hello again Mr. Underground:

I posted a question to you here a few weeks ago. I was caught a few months ago with my girlfriend's student oyster card that I used accidentally. I used to carry several cards so it was easy to confuse them as I explained this to the officer.

I have finally received a summons that states I had used it to "avoid payment of (my) fare." I believe that this is incorrect as it was a mix up. Neither in the interrogation nor in my written correspondence did I admit that I intended to avoid the fare. I just confused the cards.

Since I already explained this to the TfL Prosecutions Department in a letter a few weeks ago and they still went ahead with the summons instead of settling out of court, I am wondering whether I should just plead guilty to settle the case or go to court and repeat my statement. And if I go to court, would I even have a chance to make my case? Do I plead not-guilty or guilty and explain? Is there any way that I can make matter worse by going to court? What is the best way to proceed?

Any advice relating to what to do in court and whether to go would be greatly appreciated.

Many thanks again!

Hans Franz

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The answer to this one is that if you genuinely did not believe you were doing anything wrong or, had genuinely made a mistake, then you should not plead guilty just for expediency.

 

The fact that the fare may have been paid is not relevant in trying to avoid the charge. TfL can correctly summons you to answer the charge if they believe that you have not paid or, intended to avoid a fare.

 

The legal precedent can be found in the case of Browning & Floyd (1946) where the Court decided that if traveller 'A' uses someone else's season ticket, the rail company may not have lost money, but 'A' has not paid HIS fare.

 

Yes, if you go to Court and plead 'not guilty' you will have a chance to state your case and the rail company will have to prove theirs.

 

Whether or not you admitted fare evasion at the time is not relevant, you say that TfL have charged you with intending to avoid payment and I assume that the charge on the summons actually reads:

 

'with intent to avoid a fare contrary to Section 5.3.a of The Regulation of Railways Act 1889' (or words to that effect?)

 

This means that TfL have to prove to the satisfaction of the Court that you knowingly used your girlfriend's ticket with the intention of avoiding payment of YOUR fare.

Edited by Old-CodJA
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Thanks for the reply.

I guess it is hard, if not impossible, to prove one’s intent or whether one made a mistake.

My case would be that I have always paid my full fare before hand as can be seen in the log of my other Oyster cards. I used to carry several Oyster cards, one for weekly passes, one for pay-as-you-go, and one for guests of mine. On this particular day the fatal mistake was that I also had my friend’s Oysters card, who I was meeting afterwards to return the card she accidently left at my flat the previous evening. Thus, it was very easy to confuse them, especially since I was frantically trying to get to an appointment. Since the incident, I am keeping only one Oyster card to avoid any possible confusion.

Would that prove that I had no intent to avoid the fare? I would plead guilty to having used the wrong card, but not guilty to the intent to avoid fare. Is this possible?

There is no real proof, so it is up to the court to believe me at the end of the day. Let’s say that I make my case and I am still found guilty. Would the fact that I went there to make my case count as mitigating circumstances and reduce my fine? If I go, do I plead not guilty and then explain? And lastly, would I have to pay more when I plead not guilty, court cost etc.? If there nothing for me to lose, I would go to make my case.

Any comment is highly appreciated, as always.

HF

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Firstly, No, it would not be 'hopeless' as you put it, but for your defence to succeed it would be a case of you making a better fist of things in persuading the Magistrates than the prosecution in putting their evidence.

 

If you have been charged with 'intent to avoid', your suggested explanation that you are guilty to not having the correct ticket, but did not to intend to avoid a fare would be considered as equivocal. Your correct plea would be 'not guilty' to the charge as laid.

 

I am not going to suggest how the case might go, but will stick to the procedural explanation.

 

If you attend, plead 'not guilty' and put your case, you may question the prosecution witness ( that's the person who reported you ) , who will have to give their evidence on oath.

 

Equally, when you put your case on oath, the Prosecutor will have the opportunity to question you too.

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PLEASE HELP i DONOT KNWO WHAT TO DO

 

I was stopped at an underground station and I was unable to find my ticket on demand( it was embedded some where in the wallet) but during the hype of the inspector stopping me and saying you will have to go to court I sort of lost the ability to think and look for the ticket. Unfortunately, that day I had purchased a paper ticket but also had my mothers freedom pass which was taking back to her after she had left her bag at a relatives. As I usually get an oyster I merely swiped card and came out and it not beeping meant I didn't have a clue what I had done! When I was stopped and couldn't show them the paper ticket they sent me a letter saying a prosecution against you is being considered. So I have now written them, a letter saying I apologies for nit being able to produce the valid ticket on demand but I found it that same day and have kept it all this time for proof. I also have records over the past two years which show I have allways purchased a ticket. Will I be prosecuted?

Should i send them this info or not, I am not sure please help i am panicking, if I get a criminal record I will loose my job

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Hi - sorry for the dual posting... I would like advice.

 

I made a mistake in using my mums freedom pass on the london underground a couple of months ago. An inspector caught me using it and took down my details - they also confiscated my mums freedom pass. I thought they might have forgotten about it but yesterday I received a letter from the Prosecutions Manager at London Underground. It says:

 

 

".... The facts of the incidents are now being considered and I must advise you that legal proceedings may be initiated against you regarding this matter in accordance with the London Underground prosecutions policy.

 

If you have any comments to make regarding this incident please write them on the reverse side of this letter and complete the information panel below, returning the whole letter in the freepost envelope provided which does not require a stam, within 10 days.

 

You do not have to reply but it may harm your defence if you do not mention something which you later reply on in court. Anything that you do provide in writing may be used in evidence...."

 

 

I understand that I made a terrible mistake in using my mums freedom pass. Can anyone give me some advice as I have never even attempted to evade a fare before? Has anyone been in a similar situation that can give me good practical advice about what I should do?

 

I don't have any previous convictions and have never been stopped for fare evasion before. The cost of the journey was only £2.00 [2 stops on the tube].

 

Thank you inadvance.

 

Mike.

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SRPO

its not a cock and bull story, I really do have all recipts and thats exactly whats happened, why do you think I would need to lie on a forum where nor my name, address or town is listed

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If you say so, however im not inclined to give advice to someone who I feel has made a deliberate act to avoid the fare.

Im more than happy to assist those that have mistakenly fallen foul of the railway laws.

Use of a freedom pass that is not yours (whatever the excuse) is indefencable.

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Thank you for your response SRPO.

 

However, in my defence I would like to say that I operated completely with the London Underground staff that took my details. I have been totally truthful and honest throughout the procedure and have never even attempted to evade a fare in the past. Furthermore, I don't have any previous convictions.

 

I have a season ticket for mainline trains costing around £2,000 annually. Is really giving me a criminal record and potentially losing my job justified for a stupid mistake that I will never make again? What purpose does this ultimately serve?

 

Regards,

Mike

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Whether or not there is evidence that suggested pre-meditated intent is for the Court to decide, but it is not crucial to the case for securing a conviction.

 

Intent can occur at any time and I think the case that I quoted earlier holds the key here and so I will repeat it.

 

The legal precedent can be found in the case of Browning & Floyd (1946) where the Court decided that if traveller 'A' uses someone else's season ticket, the rail company may not have lost money, but 'A' has not paid HIS fare.

 

As a rail traveller, you have a responsibility to 'show a valid ticket on demand' by rail staff.

 

Using Oyster, you have a responsibility to check that the card that you hold is valid for travel before boarding any train.

 

With wholly pre-pay Oysters that means it MUST be touched-in before travelling to give up credit for the journey.

 

For all others such as season tickets, freedom passes etc, it MUST be valid for the zones in which you are travelling and it MUST be yours.

 

Knowing that you were carrying 'several cards', including a 'card belonging to someone else', it is very clear that your responsibility was to check that you used the right one.

 

I have to say that in my mind I am fully convinced that you will be convicted if you plead not guilty, but only you can make the decision as to what plea you enter.

 

Pleading 'guilty' at the first opportunity attracts the maximum credit from the Court, but does record a conviction.

 

Pleading 'not guilty' will result in a trial at a later date, with a likelihood of attendant costs being increased and if convicted, it is very likely that a somewhat higher penalty will be inmposed and of course, the conviction record.

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thanks for the reply - your response is much appreciated.

 

I would like to point out that I have not actually received a summons, but just a letter to say we are considering prosecution.

Is this a procedure they just follow to the stage of court or can they actually change their minds with regards to prosecuting on an individual basis.

 

Also, is there any way they will be willing to settle out of court? I am willing to pay any amount they wish given I keep a clean record?

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Ah, hadn't noted that or maybe I'd forgotten

 

As far as the likelihood of 'settling out of Court' is concerned, I'd say that is never out of the question, BUT it is a matter for the Prosecutor's Office.

 

In my experience, it is very, very unlikely where a case of misusing a Freedom Pass or, someone else's Oyster / season ticket is concerned.

 

Courts will usually see this as a clear case of abuse of trust and straightforward fare evasion. It is very easy for the prosecutor to show the clear evidence that supports that charge.

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Hello All

 

Just a quick one to update you on the situation I described a few weeks ago, and to offer a bit of hope.

 

After getting caught travelling without a ticket on a First Capital Connect Train (totally down to my own impatience and stupidity) I got caught and written up by an inspector. I waited for my letter to come through, planning to respond - and hopefully avoid prosecution - by pointing out that I actually ended up paying a penalty fare subsequent to getting written up.

 

Well, last week I recieved my letter and - to my amazement and delight - it said that, while they would normally prosecute, on this occasion they were prepared to settle the matter on payment of a fine of £36.40 (the outstanding fare plus admin costs).

 

I understand that this is a hell of a fortunate outcome, and I am mightily relieved. They gave no specific reason as to why they decided not to prosecute, but the inspector who dealt with me was very reasonable and not an idiot...I wonder if he had anything to do with it.

 

Either way, many many thanks to those who gave advice on this forum. And to anyone who may be browsing through this in a panic, remember that the worst case scenario does not always come to pass. Good luck!

 

Craig

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