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I will freely admit that I'm an idiot; and could use some practical advice.


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Though i have been lurking on this site for a couple of years, this is the first time that I have felt compelled to post. Long post - a thousand thankyou's if you can make it to the end without falling asleep.

 

I boarded a train this morning without a ticket as I was running late. First mistake.

 

I fully expected to be able to buy a ticket on the train. Second mistake it seems. In the ten years that I have lived in this city, the train operator (Southern) has always had guards on duty on the train, and you have been able to purchase a ticket with no questions asked. This morning, they were using "old style trains", with no guard to be seen (my guess is that they were in the drivers carriage?)

 

Upon arriving at the station I walked directly to a revenue collector, pulling my wallet out, and tried to buy a ticket. He directed me to a colleague who wouldn't listen to reason (as per the rules - I can't argue with that), and started talking about penalty fares.

 

AT THIS POINT I DID ONE OF THE MOST RETARDED THINGS OF MY LIFE SO FAR.

 

I bolted. I can't excuse what I did - a rush of blood to the head (and that's all I can explain it as) - and was apprehended by three rather large Revenue Collectors as expected. Bang goes the option of a £20 fine.

 

I was cautioned - fortunately 50% common sense had returned at this point and I gave a correct name and address.

 

Fourth mistake. I was asked if I was refusing to pay a penalty fare. Still a bit full of adrenaline, all I could keep on responding was that I was happy to pay the fare for my journey.

 

There were a couple of things on the statement that I wasn't prepared to incriminate myself over there and then. One was the "making off" issue. I requested that the RC amend this, and he refused to do so. The second time this issue came up I responded "no comment" on the statement.

 

The statement was also not read back to me, which I thought was a requirement? I did not sign the statement with my usual signature, as I did not believe it to be a true version of events, or rather I wasn't prepared to admit to it being a true version of events there and then.

 

The details that they hold for me include an incorrect DOB. Not only the day is wrong, but the year too! Thinking on my feet (probably incorrectly judging by the way today has gone so far) I decided not to correct him on this thinking that this may possibly make a court summons inadmissable, or at least allow me to paint him as an unreliable witness. Thoughts on this?

 

Following the taking of the statement I was allowed on my way. I again offered to pay the relevant journey fare, but this was refused.

 

It is highly likely that I am looking at prosecution. A criminal conviction is likely to blow my career plans out the water. I have never been one who has been afraid of holding up my hands and admitting to a mistake. But when this mistake is likely to affect my future career, and consequently my life, I find myself in a position where I'm forced to look for "outs." The last couple of hours have been spent looking for these.

 

The biggest lifeline that I can see thus far, is "mens rea" - guilty mind. I honestly had no intention of not paying the fare. I'm thirty years old FFS, and if I take a journey on a train I'll pay for it. Would it be of any relevance in mitigation, that I purchased a ticket for the journey as soon as I got back to my local station earlier this afternoon? (by bus - I had a ticket for that too :) ) This is of course a ticket that I won't use, but at least shows willing - I've paid for my journey in a back to front way.

 

This of course could/would be destroyed by the prosecution upon review of the CCTV if they have it. My argument here would be that I was trying to get to the ticket machine to purchase the ticket. It's a stupid argument, but the best one that I can think of currently.

 

CCTV could work in my favour - showing me walking up to the RC with no hesitation and trying to pay.

 

There will be an incorrect DOB on any paperwork that comes through, and I am not yet on the electoral role at this address.

 

The statement I made under caution was not read back to me.

 

In conclusion;

 

I am an idiot. I take full responsibility for my actions, but the thought of this potentially ruining my life leaves me a little sick, consequently I will do everything I can to avoid this happening whether this means relying on sly loopholes or otherwise. I am honestly not a habitual fare evader, and had every intention to pay.

 

Is there a way of heading this off at the pass? Any ideas?

 

I have full access to LexisNexis, and Westlaw. Though I intend to spend the next few hours (and the rest) ploughing through these resources, can anyone point me in the direction of relevant case law? It would be much appreciated.

 

As would any advice at all. Thanks.

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Hi silly

 

Welcome to CAG

 

The guys won't judge you, just advise you, Damage limitation comes to mind. You know they have CCTV camera's so did you have some sort of panic attack? The experts will be along shortly, I give them a hard time, but they are good.

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Hi silly.......... to be honest I think rebel is right, you just have to think of damage limitation. In the first instance I think you should wait to see what kind of offence they charge you with and take it from there. There is little point in worrying until we all know what we are dealing with. Although I think your posts shows a bit of desperation (rightly so if your career is at stake) and I think that is the wrong way to go. Your argument on mens reah went out the window when you ran. The court will look at ALL the evidence to decide your state of mind and running along with the deceptive details you provided shows any independently minded person that you did intend to evade the fare at some stage !!

 

 

Can I ask what your career is? Some jobs require notification to a professional body, are you one of these?

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Can I ask what your career is? Some jobs require notification to a professional body, are you one of these?

 

Potential career, with a lot of hurdles to jump through irrespective of this. I've worked hard over the last few years, both physically and mentally to put myself into a position where I gained a place on a law degree at a decent university. The intention is to complete the BVC at the end of this, and I'm guessing you know the rest.

 

After the initial post I made, I did notice that someone had said in another thread that a conviction such as this would be unlikely to make it onto a PNC check. I also read another post saying that it would be 50/50 whether it would be relevant or not, so I've calmed down a little.

 

I hear what you're saying about the mens reah argument, and it's what I feared. You're right in suggesting that there is a sense of desperation to my posts. The thought of having finally getting my sh*t together (though as said, I have no official previous, and am not a habitual fare dodger), only to blow it at the first hurdle due to a dumb mistake leaves me a little sick.

 

Thanks.

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Though I did "bolt", without a doubt, I only made it a yard or two. I have no idea how my actions would be seen through CCTV, as I had no chance to build up a head of steam. This may work in my favour?

 

Sorry for posting immediately after - the section where the Edit post option should be seems to blurred over with another and won't let me do so.

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Personally I think you are worrying unduly at this moment..... I think your best strategy is to throw your hands up and say exactly what you have already.... moment of madness.... sorry sorry sorry...... mitigate mitigate mitigate.

 

 

Studying the law is only a first stage.... when you eventually get to the point in trying to get into practicing it you just have to keep on saying sorry. In the greater scheme of things this is not a huge offence. Especially if it is a one off. Try and keep a degree of proportion, and in the long term you will be fine. We all do silly things, the point is learn from it and move on.

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Thanks again.

 

Am I best to do nothing at this point, or wait for an envelope to drop through the door? Or get in touch with Southern and try and reach an out of court solution?

 

The ridiculous thing is that, regardless of the tone of desperation in my posts, is that I don't feel I did an awful lot wrong; in that I had full intention to pay the fare, and I panicked. I didn't assault any of the RC's, and didn't swear at them once.

 

I am certainly regretful of my actions though, and am aware that with the right evidence this will look awful in court.

 

I realise that I've done a silly thing, and would be happy to take some of the consequences of my actions. But don't feel that it's right for this minor infraction to destroy any future plans. Come what may though I guess.

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The problem is that you always need a ticket before you travel and everything went downhill after that.

 

that would be problem indeed - it was the mountain being made out of the molehill playing itself out in real time - due to my actions mostly.

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Hi Silly,

 

It would have been alot easier, would it not, to have just taken the Penalty Fare? Oh well, what's done is done I suppose. You do seem to come across as a tad arrogant in your posts, as it looks like you seem to think as you were initially willing to pay for your rail journey, you shouldn't be penalised. Unfortunately, the act of making off when the PF was mentioned suggested that your intention was to avoid paying for your rail jounrey, be it correct or not. That being the case, it's likely that Southern will look to prosecute you under section 5.3(a) of the Regulation of Railways Act. This, unlike if they were to prosecute under byelaw 18.1 (failure to show a ticket on demand), is a Recordable Offence, and as such, has every possibility in showing up on the PNC. Having said that, as it's the TOC doing the prosecuting here and not the CPS, as it would be if BTP were reporting you, chances are it won't show up. I think there have been instances where it has shown up on PNC when a TOC prosecutes, but due to inter-agency working etc, there tends to be a communication let-down!

 

The fact that you didn't sign the RPI's notes isn't the end of the world in his/her part, and the fact that you chose to answer no comment only aids Southern really, as it looks as though you're guilty, after all, if you had nothing to hide, surely it would be in your best interest to tell the truth? If Southern chose to use the CCTV as evidence, it could either aid you or hinder your case, depending on how far you got when you made off! The RPIs might be reluctant to seize CCTV evidence, as their company might frown upon their staff "apprehending" members of public, also there are certain legalities surrounding this which could well work in your favour. The notes made should have been read back to you, but unfortunately if he/she puts in their statement that this occured but you refused to sign them as true and accurate, it's your word against theirs I'm afraid, and from the outset, you look like a fare evader ;).

 

Wait for Southern's letter to arrive, and reply to it accordingly. If you dont want this affecting your future plans, I suggest that you appologise profusely, and offer to pay any reasonable admin costs in order to remain out of court. For goodness sake don't display anything that could be perceived only as arrogance, when you reply to them, or they may well summon you to court. Bear in mind, the TOC is not obliged to settle out of court!

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Potential career, with a lot of hurdles to jump through irrespective of this. I've worked hard over the last few years, both physically and mentally to put myself into a position where I gained a place on a law degree at a decent university. The intention is to complete the BVC at the end of this, and I'm guessing you know the rest.

 

When you join one of the Inns of Court, you will have to declare this (if convicted.)

 

I know that Inner Temple require any conviction to be declared, however state that one does not have to declare offences that can be discharged by payment of a fixed penalty.

 

Depending on what legislation is used against you, you may be ok - I would advise checking this though.

 

PS: The BVC is now the BPTC. Had a friend who had to reprint his CV which expressed his desire to undertake the "BVC". Good thing he spotted it before sending it of!

Warning: Freemen of the Land Operate here. Think twice before accepting 'legal advice'.

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I appreciate your comments Stigy, and it is not my intention to appear arrogant at all. Hence the title of this thread :)

 

i) I don't know why I didn't simply take the penalty fare - it was panic, crossed with a sense of "right" I think. Not "right" as in arrogance, mind. More just a sense of being p*ssed off that I'd done the right thing by offering to pay, and the RPI went into a "computer says no" type.

 

ii) "surely it would be in your best interest to tell the truth?" Sadly I'm far too cynical these days, and don't believe that telling the truth makes a damned bit of difference most of the time. Please bear in mind that I walked off the train and directly up to the first RPI I saw.

 

iii) The RPIs might be reluctant to seize CCTV evidence, as their company might frown upon their staff "apprehending" members of public, also there are certain legalities surrounding this which could well work in your favour. Are there any particular points you're thinking of here please? It would be appreciated.

 

iv) "The notes made should have been read back to you, but unfortunately if he/she puts in their statement that this occured but you refused to sign them as true and accurate, it's your word against theirs I'm afraid, and from the outset, you look like a fare evader ." There is a signature at the bottom of the caution. There was a conscious decision made by myself that this shouldn't be a true representation of my signature as I didn't agree with what I said but felt that I had no option but to sign something - the options were that or the police get called (this had been a constant threat throughout). Any CCTV should show if the notes were read back to me - what if I can prove that they weren't? (I was asked to read them through)

 

v) "Wait for Southern's letter to arrive, and reply to it accordingly. If you dont want this affecting your future plans, I suggest that you appologise profusely, and offer to pay any reasonable admin costs in order to remain out of court." Can do. What would entail reasonable costs?

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Sorry, I didn't read your initial post correctly, regarding the signature. To be honest it doesn't matter that it wasn't your true signature, anything will suffice I'm afraid. You didn't actually have to sign the notes, and the threat of Police was just that, a threat. With regards to the RPI apprehending you, I know RPIs can arrest for 5.3(a) offences, but as far as I can tell this never happens, and I very much doubt Southern would approve. Basically, they'd have had to have told you that you were under arrest, and I very much doubt that occured as you would have mentioned it by now! Although you weren't held against your will (I assume you didn't say you wanted to leave?), there are alot of gret areas about holding on to people, and it's one that I (although not an RPI/A) only do as a last resort.

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. Basically, they'd have had to have told you that you were under arrest, and I very much doubt that occured as you would have mentioned it by now! Although you weren't held against your will (I assume you didn't say you wanted to leave?), there are alot of gret areas about holding on to people, and it's one that I (although not an RPI/A) only do as a last resort.

 

 

At no time I was informed that I was under arrest. Interestingly, I did state that I wanted to leave and asked them what authority they were holding me under - I didn't get a solid response to the question.

 

I realise again, that the above makes me seem arrogant, but I'm trying to be as honest as possible here!

 

thanks again.

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At no time I was informed that I was under arrest. Interestingly, I did state that I wanted to leave and asked them what authority they were holding me under - I didn't get a solid response to the question.

 

I realise again, that the above makes me seem arrogant, but I'm trying to be as honest as possible here!

 

thanks again.

You were actually free to leave at any time, and you should have been informed of that. Obviously you were in the wrong in the first place, but it does seem as though things have been missed on the RPI's part. To be honest you're best off waiting to hear from Southern, as until then you wont know what they intend to do. I would advise trying to settle the matter out of court. With regard to what's reasonable to pay them, they'll no doubt have their own idea of how much that is, but unfortunately it'll more than likely be a three figure sum (albeit not a particularly high three figure sum!).

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You were actually free to leave at any time, and you should have been informed of that. Obviously you were in the wrong in the first place,

 

 

I'm fully aware that I was wrong in the first place. The fact that I was apparently free to leave at any time makes me furious, as this is what I was arguing with them but kept getting put back against the wall, or having the threat of the police being called - an empty threat? FFS, if so.

 

Where do I go from here then?

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Silly......... this was not an empty threat. I believe you have to make a distinction between the procedure these inspectors use and what in law could happen.

 

http://www.opsi.gov.uk/RevisedStatutes/Acts/ukpga/1978/cukpga_19780031_en_1

 

If you read section 2 of the THeft Act 1978 you will find that your actions could be construed as either doing this or attempting to do this.

 

The Criminal Law Act 1967 http://www.opsi.gov.uk/RevisedStatutes/Acts/ukpga/1967/cukpga_19670058_en_1 Section 2 makes quite clear that it would be lawful to detain you for police to be called.

 

That, I assure you, you DON'T want. I fear you are doing what all students of law do (I do it myself !!) and over read the law and try to use it to get out of situations. I will say it again...... put your hands up and mitigate as best you can.

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Silly......... this was not an empty threat. I believe you have to make a distinction between the procedure these inspectors use and what in law could happen.

 

http://www.opsi.gov.uk/RevisedStatutes/Acts/ukpga/1978/cukpga_19780031_en_1

 

If you read section 2 of the THeft Act 1978 you will find that your actions could be construed as either doing this or attempting to do this.

 

The Criminal Law Act 1967 http://www.opsi.gov.uk/RevisedStatutes/Acts/ukpga/1967/cukpga_19670058_en_1 Section 2 makes quite clear that it would be lawful to detain you for police to be called.

 

That, I assure you, you DON'T want. I fear you are doing what all students of law do (I do it myself !!) and over read the law and try to use it to get out of situations. I will say it again...... put your hands up and mitigate as best you can.

 

As a student of law, you should be aware that section 2 of the Theft Act 1978 has been repealed. The Fraud Act 2006 replaced a lot of the deception offences contained in the 1978 Act. It created a "general" fraud offence. The OP's actions could fall under section 11 of said act, however the main bit of legislation used in these cases is the Regulation of Railways Act.

 

You should also be aware that section 2 of the Criminal Law Act 1967 has been repealed. S24 PACE 1984 replaced it - it may or may not apply in this situation.

 

You can NEVER read too much law. Keep reading and let it flow out onto that exam paper come exam season.

Warning: Freemen of the Land Operate here. Think twice before accepting 'legal advice'.

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Stigy, correct me if im wrong but I was under the impression you had received some legal training regarding railway law?

In the circumstances described by the OP the rail staff had power to detain him under S.5 RRA 1889 as he had failed the '3 Fs' there is no actual 'arrest' & the power to detain lasts only until the DP gives his correct details or police arrive, whichever comes soonest.

Silly11, the case law you are looking for is Corbyn v Saunders 1978.

Unfortunately its not good news & you they can quite easily charge you with the recordable fare evasion offence.

The dob they have is IMHO irrelevant.

Call them once you have received their letter & grovel!

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