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Letter from Railway Prosecutions Unit - what to do?

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Hi all,

 

I havent got a penalty charge yet but I received this from the Prosecutions Unit @ London Eastern Railway at London Liverpool Street:

 

' Dear Sir,

 

On 12th May 2009 at London Liverpool Street Staion a person giving the above name and address was questioned by a member of rail staff about the payment of a rail fare.

 

Before I proceed further with the investigation of this matter, I would lilke to give you the opportunity of responding with your explanation concerning this incident. Please complete the bottom section of this letter and if you wish to make any comments about the incident, please do so on the revers of this letter.

 

Failure to respond to this letter may result in legal action being taken against you '

 

It also asks me to confirm my details as being the person on the letter, and asks for my NI number and occcupation!!!!

 

I did indeed speak to a Revenue Protection officer on that day, as result of not having my normal ticket...... i sometimes buy weekly railcards, and other times buy singles or returns dependant on whether I am going to be in london or not..... I work in sales and have a strange pattern which makes working out which tickets to buy and when a bit of a nightmare. The day previous I had been in Manchester and I normally buy my ticket when I get home for the following day, but as I returned late I didnt buy one and boarded the following mornign without a ticket.... whcih was a genuine mistake.

 

I can explain as much to them as I did on the station, and I thought that was enough at the time, but now having this letter sent to me has taken me aback a bit.

 

I have researched this a bit on the web and I am quite worried that I am now in the position of being taken to court..... is this likely? I've never been in trouble with the railway before and have been using the trains for 10 years so I feel they are being pretty harsh.

 

My question at this stage is that should I even be responding to this letter? Is this an admission of guilt?..... as it used to be with speeding fines (my brother was caught speeding many years ago about the same time as the law stated you couldnt incriminate yourself).

 

Should I send the letter back? And should I just repeat my original plight to them or are they going to take no notice?

 

Thanks in advance,

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If you dont reply you will most likely get a court summons for travelling without a valid ticket. Your conversation with the revenue officer on the train will be sufficient enough for a prosecution.

 

I presume that you purchased a ticket on the train from the inspector, or did he give you the thin slip of paper which allowed you to continue your journey?

 

You need to respond to the letter, I would suggest writing something asking for leniency, offer to pay them the rail fare direct (or give them a copy of your ticket if you have it). There's no point going to court over this. They will not be interested in any story that you have, they will only be interested in the fact that you got on a train without a valid ticket, for which their are no excuses in thier view.

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Why are they asking for your NI number

This is from the direct gov site

Your National Insurance number

 

Your National Insurance number (NI number) is your own personal account number. The number ensures that the National Insurance contributions and the tax you pay are properly recorded on your account. It also acts as a reference number for the whole social security system.

 

Who uses your NI number?

 

The only people you should ever give your NI number to are:

  • HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC)
  • your employer
  • Jobcentre Plus, if you claim Jobseeker's Allowance
  • your local council, if you claim Housing Benefit

I would query that

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Deleted

Edited by SRPO

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Hi all, I had the same problem recently due to a stupidity of mine not paying for the ticket thinking they will not check me. Regardless of the situation, can anyone add any information to this much appreciated. I'm not sure what to answer. Can I not provide the NIN claiming I am not obliged as stated above ? Many thanks all.

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Hi all, I had the same problem recently due to a stupidity of mine not paying for the ticket thinking they will not check me. Regardless of the situation, can anyone add any information to this much appreciated. I'm not sure what to answer. Can I not provide the NIN claiming I am not obliged as stated above ? Many thanks all.

you do not have to give your NI number, just dont complete that part of the letter.

 

What is your story tas299? maybe we can offer some advice.


Views expressed in this forum by me are my own personal opinion and you take it on face value! I make any comments to the best of my knowledge but you take my advice at your own risk.

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Really thank you for replying. I only intend to solve it peacefully as I am lawful and I do not want courts, criminal record etc. I do buy my pass as usual. The story is I travel to work every day, zones 2-5 always issued a week travelcard 2-5 with one change on my trip. One day I got into inspection and for the last 2 weeks I was using oyster zones 2-3 as they very rarely inspect for the part of my trip before the change (zones 3-5). I tried to make an answer out but didn't work, the inspector understood it but didn't keep me at the station I was rushing to work. He asked my some questions (don't remember exactly now) and said I will get a letter. I also had a few travelcards from previous weeks but not for those 2 weeks. He kept them. My question is not so much what should I do as due to the facts so far not much I can do as I have to find a way to accept guilt by showing no intention to avoid pay for the ticket. My question is basically anything you could suggest but most important whether this may lead to court and/or criminal record both typically and practically. Let me know if you have any questions, I'll be online trying to find what to do. I can only think that I can claim that for those 2 weeks I didn't use the part for zones 3-5 but obviously that's lying and also they may ask proof. I know not good lying. I'm only looking for the best solution for me at this situation.Many many thanks again.

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unless you were re-cautioned for the previous offences then they can only act on the occasion when you were caught.


Views expressed in this forum by me are my own personal opinion and you take it on face value! I make any comments to the best of my knowledge but you take my advice at your own risk.

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This is my concern, I do not remember exactly what I was cautioned and what he wrote on the notes. I was stressed. For sure we talked about it verbally but I don't remember all the questions he wrote down and for what he is prosecuting me. I can only remember a few questions like "are you aware you must hold a valid ticket before traveling" and "do you intend to buy tickets from now on" or similar to that, questions that sound supporting to me. He also said it doesn't worth doing this as I pay for the most part of my trip as I will end up with a fine, however he never mentioned the word prosecute or similar otherwise i would remember.

 

I'm thinking of sticking to this particular day incident as my reply, I can write a good letter however how can I know if they respond asking about those 2 weeks too ? As per RPI sayings they can only deal with this incident right ? Logic says they can only bring the 2 weeks thing if the inspector wrote down that he asked me relevant questions which I answered yes, problem is I do not remember.

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Hi all, I had the same problem recently due to a stupidity of mine not paying for the ticket thinking they will not check me. Regardless of the situation, can anyone add any information to this much appreciated. I'm not sure what to answer. Can I not provide the NIN claiming I am not obliged as stated above ? Many thanks all.

 

You will not receive a penalty fare notice by post

 

I think that your comment in this posting makes the situation clear for everyone

 

'due to a stupidity of mine not paying for the ticket thinking they will not check me.'

 

This suggests that you had rationalised the situation.

 

You knew you did not have a ticket and knew that you should pay your fare.

You knew that ticket checks take place and that you thought it unlikely that you would be caught.

 

You were wrong.

 

You say that the inspector 'never mentioned the word prosecute' and yet you say that you were 'cautioned'

 

The caution reminds you that 'It may harm your defence if you do not mention something that you may later rely on in Court'

 

You do not have to give your National Insurance number or occupation in reply to the letter, but that does not make any difference whatsoever to the process. You have clearly been correctly identified otherwise you would not be in receipt of the letter and would not be recalling the incident now.

 

You should send a truthful written reply to the letter as soon as possible and ask the rail company to give you a chance to pay an administrative penalty to avoid the need of Court action.

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It is all clear now, thank you all, please advise on this last thing, my only concern I need to clarify before I send the letter is whether the inspector can bring up the issue of the 2 weeks before the inspection. I intend to focus on the day of the incidence. But I do not remember what was distinguished from what was told between me and the inspector and what was actually written and forwarded to the company. As you understand in the first case I may be lucky as a one off thing but in the second case I go for fare evasion. Thank you all, I will reply as soon as I have news.

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It is all clear now, thank you all, please advise on this last thing, my only concern I need to clarify before I send the letter is whether the inspector can bring up the issue of the 2 weeks before the inspection. I intend to focus on the day of the incidence. But I do not remember what was distinguished from what was told between me and the inspector and what was actually written and forwarded to the company. As you understand in the first case I may be lucky as a one off thing but in the second case I go for fare evasion. Thank you all, I will reply as soon as I have news.

 

The inspector can only refer to alleged incidents relating to the previous two weeks if you were specifically cautioned and interviewed about any such journeys.

 

If you were cautioned for the alleged offence detected at the time of travel and nothing else, then the inspector's statement can only refer to that incident.

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Despite the post strike, they received my letter in the same week and called me back. I had to pay the fares for the whole 2 weeks plus admin charges of £100 (or is it fine, dunno anyway) so total £150. Glad as I am it is over I still wonder why people get prosecuted (according to their stories here) for not paying a single ticket or not paying the exact fare by a few pence. Anyway. Take care all.

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I too was stopped for being in first class with only standard class ticket - I wrote off explaining the reason I was in there and didnt hear anything further even though I was willing to pay a fine. Next thing I have a summons to go to court - what can I do?

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You have several choices.

 

If you do nothing, the case will be proved in your absence, you will be fined, ordered to pay costs and compensation, as well as a 'victim surcharge'.

 

You can write to the Court, pleading guilty, and submitting 'mitigation', that is to say, telling why you were in 1st class. The fine will be reduced for the 'early guilty plea'.

 

You can plead 'not guilty', although from your post, that will probably not get you very far, and you would have to attend Court for the trial. Costs tend to be increased, as a witness would have to attend.

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What I think we would all recommend is a further letter to the prosecution unit. Not quite 'begging', but asking for the case to be settled outside of Court. Indicate a willingness to pay the prosecution costs, give them a good indication that it will not happen again.

 

At this stage of process, the 'ball' is very much in their 'court'. They do not have to settle the matter, it is possibly, now, more convenient to 'let it run' to Court for them. But give it a go.

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What you haven't told us is when this is listed for Court.

 

If the case is 'tomorrow', then you ought to go to Court and talk to the prosecutor. If it is in a few weeks, then you do have time to write.

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What you haven't told us is when this is listed for Court.

 

If the case is 'tomorrow', then you ought to go to Court and talk to the prosecutor. If it is in a few weeks, then you do have time to write.

 

That is particularly good advice for those who sometimes tend to bury their head in the sand and think these things will go away - they very rarely do.

 

It is never too late to try to avoid a conviction until the allegation is actually put before the Magistrates

 

Go to Court in good time before the scheduled hearing and with reasoned argument, try to persuade the prosecutor to allow a settlement and withdrawal before your case is called on. Do remember that if you are successful you will need to have sufficient cash with you to make any payment there and then

 

If that fails you are then there to put your plea in person and the Magistrates will usually give some credit for you appearing and recognising the authority of the Court

 

People that make it easy for the prosecutor by ignoring the paperwork and failing to recognise that this is a serious matter can hardly complain when they end up with a heavy financial penalty and a conviction.

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Old Codja hits another nail on the head.If you go to Court hoping that you can sweet talk the prosecutor into 'settling' the case before it goes before the Bench, take some cash with you.

 

Being a soft touch, on an entirely pro bono basis, I found myself brokering a deal recently between a fare dodger and a hard bitten and harrassed prosecutor. 'Can she settle?' 'Yes' 'How much woulod be enough?' '£65'. Off I trot, speak to defendant, 'Have you got £65 with you?' 'No' 'How much have you got with you?' 'Nuffin at all guvnor'. The phrase that came to mind is not printable in a public forum, but the prosecutor failed to see the funny side. Neither did the Chairman of Magistrates.

 

The phrase he used (and uses rather a lot) was 'You knew you were coming to Court today, you knew you would be fined, why did you not bring money with you? The fine is due today!'

 

I have even known Courts to lock people up, not for 'bunking the train fare', but for being a bit brash with paying the fines, no matter what the original offence was. (Or how much it was, or how silly the prosecutor was in wasting everyones time over 10p)

 

Fines and other impositions are due on the day.

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I have even known Courts to lock people up, not for 'bunking the train fare', but for being a bit brash with paying the fines, no matter what the original offence was. (Or how much it was, or how silly the prosecutor was in wasting everyones time over 10p)

 

Fines and other impositions are due on the day.

I was surprised once, to see what many would class as a stereotypical 'fare evader' agree to cough up their £150 odd on the day of their hearing! I guess if nothing else they must have been in employment, that or they balls up their means form! ;)

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The means form 'MC100', which is mainly blue on the front, is very important. Without it, the Court will assume that the defendant earns 'average earnings', and fine accordingly. Standard 'entry point' for a avoid fare with intent' is £350.00. Add to that 'costs', typically £100.00-£120.00, plus the victim surcharge, £15.00 and the compensation of the fare, and it can be a very expensive day out.

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The means form 'MC100', which is mainly blue on the front, is very important. Without it, the Court will assume that the defendant earns 'average earnings', and fine accordingly. Standard 'entry point' for a avoid fare with intent' is £350.00. Add to that 'costs', typically £100.00-£120.00, plus the victim surcharge, £15.00 and the compensation of the fare, and it can be a very expensive day out.
Indeed. Although my time in court has been limited, I have noticed that where I have been to court, the Magistrates usually insist on the means form being filled out, and filled out thoroughly. I guess that wouldn't be an option for non-attenders though...

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I would rather hope that one is sent out with the summons. I know that my local line always sends one.

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I would rather hope that one is sent out with the summons. I know that my local line always sends one.
I assume one is sent out with the summons, although I'd imagine the Magistrates are less likely to have one filled out correctly if the defendant's a "no show" as they're not there for the Magistrates/legal clerk to teach how to suck eggs!

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The prosecution dept will normally have sent to the defendant a statement of means form (MC100) with the Summons, Statement of Facts, Section 9 (or MG11), S 12 notice and all other associated paperwork.

 

The defendant can send a completed means form along with a completed plea form if intending to plead guilty and need not attend, but if intending to plead not guilty will need to attend for trial at a later date

 

If a statement of means form isn't completed beforehand you can get one at Court and make sure that you fill it in before your case is heard. The Court staff may be able to help you with that

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