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SWT - Fare Evasion interview with Prosecutions Dept


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I’m hoping someone might be ableto help me..I have been sent a letter by SWT to attend a meeting

 

 

I was stopped on the train a couple of months ago, having just boarded a train after touching in at a zone 5 station, I live one stop passed this station in zone 6 and had begun my journey there. I was asked where I had got on which I stated and asked to provide theticket forthe rest of my journey which I didn't have.

 

I was suffering with an illness at the time and not 100% with it and I now have a couple of concerns.

 

 

Firstly I remember very little of what I said during the 20 minutes or so they were questioning me. I also remember signing his book.

 

 

The Guy took my oyster and explained there was lots of journeys beginning at the zone 5 station and as I didn't live there I must be continually avoiding paying my fare from zone 6 which I denied doing repeatedly.

 

Not only can I not find any evidence to support my claim of having a ticket the day before I have very few old tickets to prove I was buying tickets.

 

 

It seems to my shame that I hadn't been buying my tickets as regularly as I thought for the last stop of my journey. I know thereare no excuses for not doing so, I know I live outside zone 5 and need to pay for all of my journey.

I have the money to buy theticket and have no issues with doing so, as to the obvious question 'why didn'tI then' I have no idea. I didn't get up in the morning and think I'm going tosave £2 by notbuying a ticket.

 

I normally drive to another zone 5 station and get a better service but due to not being well I'd been using my local station for a couple of months.

 

Where to go from here? I knowI've beenpaying for 98 % of my journey and wantto be honest about the rest. But I genuinely believed when being interviewed that I had tickets to prove I'd been buying them.

 

 

I have a few old tickets but not as many as expected, I don't know how many I've brought with cash and thrown away and how many I've forgot to buy.

Also should I take someone to this meeting with me? :|

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Although what you're saying is quite credible, it obviously looks dubious from SWT's point of view. The best thing you can do is attend the second interview and explain in more detail what had occurred. Playing devil's advocate here though, are SWT likely to be able to evidence the fact that you have been doing this on a regular basis with the intention to avoid payment? For example, if you were brought to their attention prior to initially being stopped by a member of their staff by way of intel reports, of which you might be unaware of at this stage, which show you travelling ion the train from outside zone 6 on the dates you say you received a lift. Were you advised in the invite to the second interview that you may bring someone? Bear in mind though, you're the person being interviewed and anybody in your company will likely be asked to keep quiet. You might be allowed a solicitor to attend, but since you're not under arrest, SWT don't have to allow this. What sort of person did you want to attend?

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Hi, Thank you for your response. I have re-read the letter and it says ‘if youhave representation and they are attending’ does this suggest legalrepresentation? I was thinking about taking a friend or colleague to make notesthis time not a legal representative.

As stated previously, I thought I’d be able to produce an abundanceof tickets to prove I had been buying them, which unfortunately I can’t , so itseems I haven’t been buying them on a regular basis. There may well havebeen reports of my leaving the train to touch in my oyster.. I know it soundsdubious, but it wasn’t with the intention to avoid payment.. Although I’m sure this is what it looks like..but how can they/I prove it was/wasn’t my intention to avoid payment? I just feel so stupid, because I can see how it looks. Do you think it is likely I will be prosecuted for this?

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Hi, Thank you for your response. I have re-read the letter and it says ‘if youhave representation and they are attending’ does this suggest legalrepresentation? I was thinking about taking a friend or colleague to make notesthis time not a legal representative.

As stated previously, I thought I’d be able to produce an abundanceof tickets to prove I had been buying them, which unfortunately I can’t , so itseems I haven’t been buying them on a regular basis. There may well havebeen reports of my leaving the train to touch in my oyster.. I know it soundsdubious, but it wasn’t with the intention to avoid payment.. Although I’m sure this is what it looks like..but how can they/I prove it was/wasn’t my intention to avoid payment? I just feel so stupid, because I can see how it looks. Do you think it is likely I will be prosecuted for this?

 

They probably assume if anyone is to attend, it'll be a legal representative. Having said that, if they don't specify, I can't see why they wouldn't be allowed to attend in the capacity of note taker etc.

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If there is a chance I will be prosecuted should I take a legal representative?

 

You can do, BUT, if SWT choose to prosecute for a Byelaw offence, there's not much a legal rep could do to get you off, other than attempt to settle out of court, which, IMO, you are perfectly capable of doing yourself without incurring the cost of a solicitor.

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If there is a chance I will be prosecuted should I take a legal representative?

 

I agree with firstclass. You can do if you please, but I'd suggest finding one that specialises or is experienced with such cases, as from experience, not all solicitors understand railway legislation. To emphasise on what firstclass said, if they chose to prosecute for a Byelaw offence it's strict liability, therefore there's very limited defence. You either did it, or didn't do it. At the end of the day, you could have had a ticket for your entire journey, but didn't. Assuming ticket machines were working etc, and no staff permitted you to travel without a valid ticket.

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Hi, Thank you for your response. I have re-read the letter and it says ‘if youhave representation and they are attending’ does this suggest legalrepresentation? I was thinking about taking a friend or colleague to make notesthis time not a legal representative.[/font][/size]

 

 

I agree with firsclassx and Stigy on this, but one word of gentle advice if I may, I'm not saying this is likely to be the case, but it's worth considering.

 

If you take a friend and s/he takes notes, which are not accurate, or, if at any time during interview the interviewer oversteps the mark, a person who is not legally trained could not be found negligent in failing your defence.

 

Please do not assume that I am saying this is likely, it is very unlikely in my opinion.

 

I agree that if you are charged with a Byelaw offence, the best you can manage will be to try to negotiate an out of Court resolution yourself.

 

If you are charged with 'intent to avoid a fare', that's a more serious issue and you ought to seek qualified legal advice if you have any doubt about your own ability to defend this charge.

 

 

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