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Had a prosecution letter from London Midland

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H,i I wondered if you can help me. I have just received a letter From London Midland Similar to the one you received and the same sort of situation. Would you be kind enough to send me a template of the letter you sent, As I too don't wish to attend court.

 

Many thanks in advance

 

Hello,

 

I am seeking advice on a situation involving a prosecution letter from London Midland which reads as follows:

 

Dear Mr. ***,

 

On **th May 2012, a person giving the above name and address was questioned by a member of staff with regard to an alleged incident on London Midland Railway. This matter has been provisionally authorised for prosecution.

 

Before I proceed further, I invite you to respond by completing in full the bottom section of this letter, making any comments about the incident on the reverse, and send it to the above address within seven days.

 

Failure to respond will lead to the matter being progressed without further notification.

 

I am then aske to provide my name, adress, whether I wa the person that travelled, phone number, occupation and NI number. Although the letter says seven days, my Dad has phoned London Midland to explain to them that he has had to send the letter to my university address (which I originally gave them, but they could not verify, as I live on campus, so searching for the university address on a database would probably come up with the Post Room address), and they have kindly extended the deadline for reply by a couple of weeks to allow for this.

 

The incident was that I was travelling from Canley to Birmingham New Street for some temporary work at the ICC. At Canley, the ticket office was closed and the permit to travel machine was out of order, so I assumed I would be able to purchase a ticket on the train. However, there was no conductor passing on the train, so I did not get the opportunity. The train arrived late at New Street, causing me to panic about being late for work. My mental state at the time was not helped by a lack of sleep due to hot weather and stress over university exams that were five days away, which I felt severly underprepared for and feared failing and not being allowed back next year.

 

As such, the added worry of being late to work meant my head was all over the place and was not thinking clearly at all. Amongst the crowd, I did not see anyone being checked for tickets, so I thought I would be able to purchase the ticket for both journeys on my return (which I now understand was an incredibly stupid thought). However, there were ticket officers there and I was asked to show a ticket, which I obviously couldn't. I then made what was intended to be a light hearted joke of "Could've got away with one there!", which was an incredibly idiotic and inappropriate comment to make and one I don't believe I would have made if not under so much pressure at the time. I think the officer took it in the manner it was intended and didn't seem bothered when I went back to go to the temporary ticket stand to by the ticket.

 

However, whilst in the queue, another woman came up to me and asked where I had travelled from. I answered Canley and she said "come with me" and took me back to the officer who took my details and asked me a series of questions including "What did you mean by "I could've got away with that one"? to which I replied "Without paying for a ticket." He also asked me how I would have bought a ticket had he not been there, to which I replied "On my return journey". Another question was "From what I have gathered it seems that you attempted to exit the station without purchasing a ticket. Is this correct?" I replied yes to this as it is the honest answer as I was attempting to get out of the station as quickly as possible to avoid being late for work, so didn't want to get into any further arguments, which probably would only have led to me saying something similar anyway.

 

After these questions, I was told I would be receiving a letter and to carry on. I started to go back to the queue to pay for the ticket, when the officer stopped me and said to just go through the barriers. I again attempted to purchase the ticket for both journeys on my return, but was refused by the lady on the temporary ticket office as she said I should've had to pay a penalty fare at the time due to the inspectors, so I could only buy the ticket for the trip back.

 

I am a university student possibly looking to go into a career teaching maths and physics, so am scared that if I am prosecuted, a criminal record would prevent me doing any modules or courses required for me to pursue this career path. I am a regular user of the train, probably averaging one trip a week since arriving at uni in October, and have paid for every trip, whether at Canley, by permit to travel, on the train or at the destination and have a stack of these tickets dating back to January. This one isolated incident has been such a dissapointing episode for me, which has caused me stress throughout and after my busy exam period. I have never been in this situation before, and am unsure how to progress. I obviously want to avoid court to avoid a criminal record and would be more than happy to pay any fine they give me to do so, as seems to be the recommended course of action on similar threads.

 

Firstly, I would like advice on the manner in which to respond. I assume a letter of apology, explanation and offer of settlement is what I should do. Should I handwrite the letter on the back of the form with the explanation of the incident, or type up the letter separately, leaving just the explanation on the back of the letter? Also, should I include photocopies of some of my tickets to show that I am a regular paying customer? I would also appreciate your opinions on whether my foolish comment to the inspector have basically ruined any chance I have of preventing this going to court.

 

Thanks in advance and I apologise that my first post on this forum is such a long one about an embarrasing moment of stupidity.

 

Dan

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Hello and welcome to CAG. I've started a new thread for you so you can have specific advice for your problem. The guys may need more information from you, like what happened and what the letter says. Fwiw, we don't really have template letters because everyone's story is different. It would be better to write a sincere letter in your own words to convince the London Midland. If you tell us some more, the guys may be able to give you some tips on what to mention. My best, HB


Illegitimi non carborundum

 

 

 

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Sorry about the lack of paragraphs, I'm not on the normal internet facility. HB


Illegitimi non carborundum

 

 

 

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Are you certain that you checked thoroughly and there were no ticket purchase facilities available to you at Canley. You say that the ticket office was closed and the permit-to-travel machine out of order. Canley ticket office has one of the longest opening hours of any station in the midlands (five a.m until midnight) and it is unusual, but obviously it is not impossible for it to be closed. The fact that the female inspector came and sought you out after you had told barrier staff that you'd come from Canley without a ticket leads me to believe that they checked and found the booking offce was open.

 

Having admitted that you had travelled without a ticket and without declaring that journey and without paying the fare before attempting to leave the station, it's vitrually certain that you would be reported. A Penalty Fare Notice is not appropriate in this situation.

 

Paying a fare after being caught out does not prevent the TOC from continuing to prosecution. There are two important phrases in Section 5 of the Regulation of Railways Act (1889) that should be noted.

 

The first is "If any person travels, or attempts to travel without a valid ticket....." and the second is "having not previously paid his fare...."

 

Once an alleged offender has been identified there is never any obligation on rail staff to accept a fare if evidence suggests that an offence should be reported.

 

The best thing that you can do is to await the letter from LM and then you will have the correct reference allocated to your case. Once that is to hand you will know exactly what they allege and what action they intend to pursue. You will then be able to respond fully and honestly and ask the TOC if they are prepared to allow this matter to be resolved by other means and without Court action.

Edited by Old-CodJA

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