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First Capital court summons and adjournment. Pls help


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Hi, I know there are many threads on this but i havnt noticed any which explain the adjourned hearing process

 

Background

I had a return ticket which i payed for at approx 1pm on the 22nd March, i missed my last train home and had to wait until 5:30am to get the first train home the next day.

I was half asleep and didnt even think about my ticket not being valid.

When i arrived at my station the ticket wouldnt go thorough and i had my details taken (i had no means to pay there and then)

...Thern 6 weeks later i rec'vd a court summons.

I proceded to contact FCC 3 times to pay the fare and informed them that i had indeed purchased a return ticket so was therefore not trying to avoid fare completely.

they wouldnt settle and continued with the court.

I sent a mitigating letter explaining the above in a bit more detail but also claimed Guilty as it was true my ticket was indeed invalid.

 

Update

Today, i recieved a letter from the court saying the case has been adjourned until next month for out of court settlement or sentencing!!!

What does this mean?? I assumed it would have been settled on the first date and i would receive my fine.

Im now pooping myself.

Im a single mother and a student nurse, a criminal conviction is the last thing i need at the moment.

 

I have again contacted FCC stating the letter recieved and begging them again to settle out of court but im not expecting they will.

 

Questions

1.Anyone had similar or know what might happen??

2. Do people get sentenced?

3. Should i attend? Im worried about attending as i hate things like this and would rather not but not sure if i have to. It requests me to attend but also says that if they dont hear from me or i dont attend then the case can proceed against me in my absence.

 

Thanks for your advice in advance (sorry about spellings)

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P.S they are looking at the byelaw 18(2) failiour to hand over a ticket for inspection.

I did handover my ticket and they took it off me. I have requested the ticket back as evidence from FCC but they have ignored my request.

 

The offence should be traveling without a valid ticket or out of date ticket surely??

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I'm sure others with experience can explain in more detail but to answer a few of your questions

 

1. Sentencing - If you plead guilty then the court will sentence you in a way they feel is appropriate. This does not mean that you will instantly get a custodial sentence, it is unlikely that you will and if it is a first time offence then you will probably end up with some fine and having to pay costs for the prosecution to bring their case to court as well as any compensation they are asking for. How much I don't know but other people on here can give you an idea.

 

As for attending court, it may be wise to do so and apologise for what has happened, it was a one off and you didn't intentionally avoid paying for any ticket as you had already purchased a return or something along those lines. The Judge / Magistrates could then give you credit and as I said more than likely give you a fine of some sort.

 

You are correct in 18(2) is that you must hand over your ticket to an authorised person for verification and validity. Whether they are allowed to kepe the ticket and not hand it back I am not certain of this, though you could mention it in court?

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P.S they are looking at the byelaw 18(2) failiour to hand over a ticket for inspection.

I did handover my ticket and they took it off me. I have requested the ticket back as evidence from FCC but they have ignored my request.

 

The offence should be traveling without a valid ticket or out of date ticket surely??

 

They have seized the ticket as evidence & should exhibit it court, they will NOT give it back to you.

The offence is failing to hand over a valid ticket, if you ticket was out of date then that would be the correct charge.

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There are two sets of issues which you need to concentrate on.

 

Is there a 'defence'? If you travelled on 'the first train', were there facilities at the station where you boarded to obtain a ticket? Was the ticket office open, or were there self service machines that were working?

 

The second set is 'what mitigating factors' are there? A court is likely to want to know what you were doing prior to missing your 'last train'. Were you working a late shift at a hospital, giving aid and comfort to elderly and unwell former Magistrates, or were you out on the town, dancing round your handbag and suffering balance problems caused by the demon drink? By how much did you miss the last train? That you had a return ticket is 'good', but the price of a return is based on the conditions attached to it, that is, return the same day. It tends to show that you intended to pay the fare, although, in the event, it wasn't 'the correct fare'.

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Magistrates do have sentencing guidelines for this type of offence. How the 'guidelines' are applied is a matter for a Court on the day, but generally, for a byelaw offence, the Bench will start thinking in the region of a fine of £175.00. A 'guilty plea at first opportunity' will reduce fines, good mitigation will reduce them further, and 'low income' further still. Aggravating features will increase fines. They would be things like 'behaviour', did you call the Inspector things that would annoy him, or were you 'unpleasant'? Previous convictions will potentially increase fines, and (if the offence is one of intending to avoid fares) start to mke the Court think about 'alternative sentences', which can include 'custody' or 'community punishment', which is the posh way of saying 'unpaid work'.

 

In addition to any fine, there will be a claim for costs, a claim for the 'unpaid fare' and a 'victim surcharge' of £15.00.

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There are two sets of issues which you need to concentrate on.

 

Is there a 'defence'? If you travelled on 'the first train', were there facilities at the station where you boarded to obtain a ticket? Was the ticket office open, or were there self service machines that were working?

 

The second set is 'what mitigating factors' are there? A court is likely to want to know what you were doing prior to missing your 'last train'. Were you working a late shift at a hospital, giving aid and comfort to elderly and unwell former Magistrates, or were you out on the town, dancing round your handbag and suffering balance problems caused by the demon drink? By how much did you miss the last train? That you had a return ticket is 'good', but the price of a return is based on the conditions attached to it, that is, return the same day. It tends to show that you intended to pay the fare, although, in the event, it wasn't 'the correct fare'.

 

 

Hi,

the ticket office was not open when i got on the train as they had literally just opened the gates.

I missed the train by 3 mins due to the taxi being late, i was however on a day/night out which i have told them in my letter.

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Its my first offence and i wasnt nasty to the lady although i was frustrated when she spent almost an hour taking my details in full view of other commuters.

I did plead guilty on first oportunity and i have tried to settle with FCC out of court on 4 occasions which i have informed the court of.

 

Thanks for all your replys

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Its my first offence and i wasnt nasty to the lady although i was frustrated when she spent almost an hour taking my details in full view of other commuters.

I did plead guilty on first oportunity and i have tried to settle with FCC out of court on 4 occasions which i have informed the court of.

 

Thanks for all your replys

 

I think that in order to suggest any useful detail, it would be helpful to know which station you were travelling from?

 

I had read your original post as indicating a night out in what used to be referred to as 'The Smoke', but note that you say that you were questioned 'for almost an hour' and in 'front of other commuters', which suggests a non-stop journey toward London, maybe I'm wrong?

 

In my experience this sort of irregularity is usually considered suitable for settlement, especially if it is a first 'offence' unless there are other factors that we are not aware of?

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If I have followed this correctly, the matter is at the stage when FCC are 'thinking about it', and as such 'criminal record' thoughts may be premature.

 

However, you ask some straight questions, which deserve straight answers. The one thing that you will learn with 'regulation' is that there are more twists and turns in a straight answer than the route taken by an old sow back to the sty after eating fermenting apples.

 

Railway Byelaw offence convictions are not recorded on the criminal record.

 

Offences charged (and proved) under section 5 of the Regulation of Railways Act 1889 are 'recordable'.

 

Offences proved in a criminal Court, Magistrates or Crown, are 'convictions' which may have to be declared. They are noted in 'public records', that is to say, the Courts keep a record of the finding and sentence. Prosecuting authorities, including organisations like FCC, will keep their own records, and may cite a conviction in future hearings.

 

Unless the case has 'reporting restrictions', generally to protect the identity of a child, the case result may be published. Many local papers do send reporters to Court.

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Codja and I would like to know what station you got on at to start your journey home, on the 'morning after'. If the ticket office was shut, and if the machines were not working, there may be a defence. If there is a defence, then you can tell FCC to 'go away'. Before you do, you would need to know if the ticket machines were working.

 

FCC may very well settle for a payment equal to their costs and the unpaid fare. It saves them work, and gives them a 'result'. I must say, I am interested in how they calculate their costs, Essex Magistrates would be a tad sniffy about '£130.00', they only grant our local lines £65.00 for a simple Byelaw offence, and 'only' £110.00 for the more labour intensive 'Sec 5 RRA' offence.

 

There is a clear 'instruction' that costs should not be 'punitive'.

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As for 'an hour' taking details, I am a pedantic old chap. Many people I speak with tell me that they were held for 'hours'. The questions 'have you got a ticket' and 'what is your name and address' ought to be completed in less than 10 minutes.

 

I have on many occasions accurately timed 'incidents', very easy if CCTV is available, or the matter was recorded, and very often both witnesses and alleged offenders are wildly wrong with their 'time estimates'.

 

'An hour' suggests the thought that the incident developed into rather more than a 'no valid ticket' chat.

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