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I was smoking on an outside/non enclosed section of the overground platform (something i didnt know about) and was approached by two transport officers.

after two months I received a letter about court proceedings asking me to respond in 14 days notice. I responded about there being confusing or limited signs, the sign at the entrance was actually the no smoking circle and was placed the wrong way around (there was no text and I have a photo of this on the day) they’re doing renovations on the station and believe that they had removed the signs for some time.

 

I since received a court summons and am unsure if they received my original letter.

 

I know that there are laws on proper signs and in the summons it says that 'near which there is a notice indicating that 'smoking is not allowed'.

 

I read that businesses not displaying the proper signs can be fined.

also what is the best option, is it possible to settle out of court or pay a fine (used with money for quitting smoking) should i get a solicitor on this. any help, thank you.

Edited by olka
Editing in some spacing for ease of reading.

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Hello and welcome to CAG.

 

Are you able to post up what the letter says please, in case it helps the guys to advise you? Don't include any of your personal information.

 

My best, HB


Illegitimi non carborundum

 

 

 

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Thank you.The byelaw is byelaw no 3.

the letter states that I

"did contravene bylaw no 3 of the railway bylaws made under section 219 and schedule 20 of the transport act 2000 in accordance with the railways act 2005 in that you did smoke or carry a lighted pipe, cigar, cigarette, match lighter or other lighted item on part of the railway on or near which there is a notice indicating that smoking is not allowed. "

 

When i asked the where the signs are he pointed further down the platform from where I was standing so at the two edges of the platform and said there was one on the entrance.

 

what are the possible fines is it a maximum £200. It says costs in the sum of £100 are applied for. If i plead guilty will I have to pay £100 as well as the penalty fine or if i go to court will I get charged for £100 and will I get a record??

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Thank you for that, hopefully it will help the guys to advise you.

 

How long do you have before the court date please?

 

My best, HB


Illegitimi non carborundum

 

 

 

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The maximum fine at court is £1000 plus costs etc, however, realistically it'll be a fine, half that of the average weekly wage (was £175, but probably around £200 now), plus costs etc. The national legislation in-place (not including the Railway Byelaws) states that signage needs to be at all entrances to a premises at the very least, and from experience, Rail Companies only adhere to the bear minimum requirement and only put signage where they have to, plus on the odd one of two pillars and posts around the station, depending on it's size etc. In honesty it should be on every lamp post and/or hoarding so as to avoid confusion. In short, most rail companies are adhereing to the Government legislation as to where they put signage, but are prosecuting using the Railway Byelaws, which dictates that an alleged offender should be 'near' to a sign.

 

Whereas the national smoking ban in all public areas is governed by seperate legislation, the rail networks use the Byelaws which originally, were in place to enforce No Smoking policies on-board trains. This being the case, if we were using the national legislation and not the Byelaws, station platforms would be exempt as they're for the most part, way out in the open.

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Thanks for that I have about a month. I really cant afford court fees or a record etc if its still possible to settle out of court and if anyone have any advice can they pm!

Edited by olka

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The maximum fine at court is £1000 plus costs etc, however, realistically it'll be a fine, half that of the average weekly wage (was £175, but probably around £200 now), plus costs etc. The national legislation in-place (not including the Railway Byelaws) states that signage needs to be at all entrances to a premises at the very least, and from experience, Rail Companies only adhere to the bear minimum requirement and only put signage where they have to, plus on the odd one of two pillars and posts around the station, depending on it's size etc. In honesty it should be on every lamp post and/or hoarding so as to avoid confusion. In short, most rail companies are adhereing to the Government legislation as to where they put signage, but are prosecuting using the Railway Byelaws, which dictates that an alleged offender should be 'near' to a sign.

 

Whereas the national smoking ban in all public areas is governed by seperate legislation, the rail networks use the Byelaws which originally, were in place to enforce No Smoking policies on-board trains. This being the case, if we were using the national legislation and not the Byelaws, station platforms would be exempt as they're for the most part, way out in the open.

 

Sorry thats incorrect in England the only open air area thats covered by the anti smoking legislation

are station platforms so unless the OP is in Scotland where only the enlosed areas of a station are covered by the legislation he/she was actually breaking the law

 

I am a smoker myself and have known for years where I can and cannot smoke, I dont see how the OP can complain thats there are no signs when he/she should have been aware of the legislation in the first place.

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Sorry thats incorrect in England the only open air area thats covered by the anti smoking legislation

are station platforms so unless the OP is in Scotland where only the enlosed areas of a station are covered by the legislation he/she was actually breaking the law

 

I am a smoker myself and have known for years where I can and cannot smoke, I dont see how the OP can complain thats there are no signs when he/she should have been aware of the legislation in the first place.

 

I agree with that summary, it has long been known and frequently complained about by some, that smoking is prohibited on railway platforms.

 

The disastrous fire at Kings Cross Underground on 18th November 1987, started by a discarded cigarette butt and resulting in the deaths of 31 people did lead to some very powerful and very restrictive anti-smoking legislation on railways and of course the Rail Company will point to the fact that, as confirmed by the OP, there were in fact 3 signs displayed at the station at which the offence was detected.

 

Stigy may be right in that it might be desireable to have a sign on every concievable lamp post and fixture to deal with the pedantic offender who says 'but I'm not near to a sign', however that response is unlikely to gain a lot of sympathy from a Court in my opinion.

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Sorry thats incorrect in England the only open air area thats covered by the anti smoking legislation

are station platforms so unless the OP is in Scotland where only the enlosed areas of a station are covered by the legislation he/she was actually breaking the law

 

I am a smoker myself and have known for years where I can and cannot smoke, I dont see how the OP can complain thats there are no signs when he/she should have been aware of the legislation in the first place.

I was saying that the enforcement is by way of the Byelaws in most cases, whereas, I'm assuming, other enforcement measures are in-place in all other places? I also assume that if a council official wanted to enforce the ban on a railway station, they'd be within their right to do so, using other legislation?

 

OC, Where it's obviously better to have more signage than not enough, I appreciate that this isn't always possible. However, I do think more signs are needed in general.

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I was saying that the enforcement is by way of the Byelaws in most cases, whereas, I'm assuming, other enforcement measures are in-place in all other places? I also assume that if a council official wanted to enforce the ban on a railway station, they'd be within their right to do so, using other legislation?

 

OC, Where it's obviously better to have more signage than not enough, I appreciate that this isn't always possible. However, I do think more signs are needed in general.

 

 

Sorry Stigy you have confused me as you said in your other post station platforms would be exempt as they're for the most part, way out in the open.

 

I was pointing out that they are not exempt and most smokers are aware of this fact and yes more signs would be nice but the onus is on smokers to know where they can and cannot smoke.

  • Haha 1

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I don't know about anyone else, and this may not make a difference in this situation however, whenever I go on the underground I am continuously bombarded by tannoy announcements stating that smoking is not permitted anywhere on the underground network including stations and platforms. I take that to mean even those platforms that are open to the elements (and those are the ones I use most frequently - Richmond, Hammersmith and Wood Lane!)

 

Feebee_71

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OC, Where it's obviously better to have more signage than not enough, I appreciate that this isn't always possible. However, I do think more signs are needed in general.

 

Yes, I agree that more signs might be useful, but so far as the legislation is concerned, it is sufficient to show that a sign was exhibited.

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Yes. So we can wrap this up; the railway could actually get away, if they chose, with just one sign per station entrance, à la supermarkets etc, as long as they are visible. Don't give up giving up!

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Thanks for the replys, does anyone have any legal advice. I'm aware that I shouldn't have and would pay the fine. I'd rather avoid going to court and reach a settlement. In this station the sign was misplaced upside down with no text saying no smoking. when I read on the guidelines for signage it doesn't comply. The other sign outside the station does count but it's the one on the platform.

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Thanks for the replys, does anyone have any legal advice. I'm aware that I shouldn't have and would pay the fine. I'd rather avoid going to court and reach a settlement. In this station the sign was misplaced upside down with no text saying no smoking. when I read on the guidelines for signage it doesn't comply. The other sign outside the station does count but it's the one on the platform.

 

To be honest, AFAIK the Byelaws do not prescribe what the sign must look like. Just needs to be a sign that indicates in some way, that smoking is prohibited.

 

If the below imagine is displayed, whether upsidedown or not, I would say the signage is sufficiently clear for a prosecution to succeed. It doesn't even have to be that good really!

 

when-the-smoke-is-going-down.jpg

 

If "transport officer" basically means British Transport Police, you can't "settle out of court"! **bribery**

 

Not legal advice, but I'd be pleading guilty. Can't really mitigate the offence IMO. I suspect if convicted you'd get:

 

£150 fine

£100 costs order

£15 victim surcharge

A "record" that is believed to appear on "enhanced" Criminal Record checks

Possibly a lecture about the Kings Cross fire from a Magistrate

 

I'm sorry I can't really foresee a better outlook occurring.... If you go "not guilty" and are convicted, you're looking at a £300 fine plus the rest of the ancillary costs.

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