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Incorrect Prosecution Department Letter - What are my obligations in regards to the train companies mistakes?

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Today I got back home and had the joy of finding some correspondence from the South West Trains Prosecution Department.

The letter, I think relates to a time when I found out that I did not have the cash on me to buy a ticket but needed to get to work. I intended to buy a ticket and had the money to do so but I just didn't have it on me at the time, hence I could not pay any of the penalty fare either. (Now with the sob story over I will continue with my question.)


Anyway in the letter there is an issue, firstly the date referred to as the "incident date" is not correct, not by a long shot and so the letter effectively refers to an incident that did not occur. Furthermore there is no reference to me having not payed a fare, it simply states to someone who gave my name and address having been questioned by a member of rail staff about an incident that occurred on their property.


Had the letter that came through had the correct details I would have no option but to answer honestly and directly, however the details that they have provided means that the honest response is that I was not even close to their property on the date of the incident stated in the letter.

So my Question is::

  1. Do I have any obligation to correct the mistakes they have made on their correspondance?
  2. If am not obliged to do so, should I answer honestly that I was not involved in any incidents on the date that they mention?
  3. Do I risk a higher fine/ legal ramifications should they correct their mistake at a later date?
  4. Am i better of not responding at all and letting this incorrect date go to caught where the case would be invalid?


Any replies will be greatly appreciated as I only have 2 weeks to respond.

Edited by CuriousGeorge86
spelling mistake

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If the TOC letter says that you were at X on Y date and are asking you to respond to that allegation, if you were not at that place on that date write back stating that you were not at X on Y date and ask them to provide a copy of their evidence that suggests that you were.


If you can provide evidence that you were at Z on Y date, so much the better.


Their cock-up, their problem.


You have acknowledged that you did travel at another time without a ticket, but if they haven't done their job correctly, that isn't your fault.


If they later correct the details and write to you about the alleged offence that you admit, then you can still respond to that allegation separately and truthfully.



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About the first thing that a defence brief does is to read through all the basics. Odd how many charges have wrong days for the date and so on. Some mistakes can be 'dealt with' at Court by the prosecution, but it is for the prosecution to use the evidence to prove the offence as charged.


It is one of the few great things about living in this country, the prosecution cannot simply say 'he looked guilty, so he is'.


In many ways, the defence have it easy. The prosecution have to work out what offence has been committed, and get the evidence marshalled to prove the charge. The defence can sit quietly for a long while, knowing that there are not 31 days in June. Long before the arguments about Corbyn & Saunders (Railway case law, well known by Old Codja and his mates), the day, date, time and place specified in the charge have to be shown to be correct. And that is the job for the prosecution. Some little while ago, a very frosty legal advisor at Barking, known for his penchant for drawing blood from anybody rash enough to walk into HIS court without being properly case ready, said to a harrassed and overworked railway prosecutor "That is what you get your costs for!" I wasn't in the 'front row' at the time but I felt my stomach tighten.

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