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First Capital Connect Court Appearance - Compulsory Ticket Area


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Hello :smile:

 

I'm appearing in magistrates court imminently because the now defunct First Capital Connect (FCC) are pursuing prosecution for a failure to produce a valid ticket at Finsbury Park station.

 

I'm pragmatic about this and have attempted to settle with FCC without success, various parts of what happened leading up to the court date make little or no sense..

So here in brief.

 

I travel once or twice monthly from and to Finsbury Park overground station.

 

 

Travelled to Finsbury Park with valid ticket, exited train on newly built platform which had no ticket barriers unlike the other 4 platforms at the station.

 

Discarded ticket because no barriers to put it in to, walked down two seperate flights of stairs to exit station, one FCC staff member at street entrance to station asks for ticket. I explain I discarded it and offer to go back and get it, staff refuses offer and says I cannot go back to get it.

 

Staff asks for name and address which I give, he verifies it writes out missing ticket pad slip, I ask for copy of missing ticket pad slip, he declines to give me, I ask how can I pay, staff says they will post bill to me (no offer to allow me to pay there and then).

 

FCC send court summons asking for any mitigating circumstances - I reply with above and ask them to check records of purchase for 1.5 hour period on day when I bought ticket, apologise profusely, make clear offer to meet their costs and pay for ticket to bring matter to a close.

 

They write back asking me to contact them in light of my response to resolve matter.

I email, telephone and write to the contact info given, after no response I start requesting they call email or write to me. I continue to try to make contact receiving no response for 6 weeks..

 

Get court summons 9 days before hearing asking court to award for £100 approx and cost of ticket £15 approx, I plead guilty by post outlining the above, apologising and pointing out I just don't want to waste anyones time.

 

Court date passes, I receive letter from court stating they have adjourns matter to allow "prosecution to review", I've heard nothing from the prosecution (FCC ceased trading on 14th September this year) I contacted court to ask if hearing going ahead, they advised me yes and court staff said always best to attend, I will go because I want this matter to end, although I've already pleaded guilty by post and submitted mitigation with the guilty plea.

 

I would laugh if it weren't for the fact this is serious and I respect the law, its stressed me for months and I'm going to court for the first time in my life - I'm no spring chicken.

 

The date of birth on my summons is incorrect, I think this is irrelevant but am no solicitor. What I am keen to know is where the "compulsory ticket area" is at Finsbury Park station and most importantly could anyone give me any pointers on what I should do or say at court.

As I've said I was happy enough to pay whatever to make FCC happy and still am, yet I have no means of contacting them since they don't respond to any normal channel and have now ceased to exist.

 

I've been putting off looking at this but it's happening in a couple of days..

 

Any advice very welcome.

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Hi, because no one has replied at all, I'll talk to myself :lol:

 

The new franchise holder contacted me saying they were going to continue with the prosecution (I hadn't been able to contact them..) and asked for the original amount demanded.

 

Those who have or are being prosecuted for being unable to produce a ticket in non compulsiory ticket areas (I found outr today I wasn't even in an area where tickets are compulsory..) AFTER travelling should really check section 18 part 2 of the Railway Byelaws and have a think about what it implies if someone demands money with menaces AFTER a journey has ended and AFTER you've exited the "compulsory" ticket area.

 

The train companies and many posters here would have you believe any violation of this part of Railway Byelaw is not contestible in court.

 

You purchased a ticket you used it to enter a station you had it with you on the train, you exited the train.. It may be instructive to consider whether any authority can REASONABLY impose a sanction beyond the penalty fare or at all, for not having a ticket outside of the ticketing area.. particularly in relation to the size of the loss incurred by the train operator (i.e. none).

 

If prosecuted for not buying a ticket in this circumstance :

 

  • Request to see the CCTV of where you bought the ticket.

 

  • Ask the train operating company to prove that a ticket was not bought for your journey when and where you bought it.

 

  • Read up on what the Railway Officer has to tell you before he can issue a penalty notice or fine.

 

  • Read up on the necessary display of notices for penalty fare areas.

 

  • DPA the train operator for all info a few weeks after asking for the above preferably after you've received the DPA response.

 

  • Contest any untruths discovered in writing immediately.

 

Don't be intimidated by aggressive railway staff treating you as a second class citizen (no pun intended) because they imagine you haven't bought a ticket which somehow means you're less than human so don't deserve to be treated like one.

 

Don't sign their paperwork and ask for acopy of anything they've written there and then.

 

Remember that some rail operators have been deliberately been using court summons to extract unreasonable settlements, it boosts their profits.

 

 

On another note I liked this forum better in it's younger years, there weren't so many companies or their misguided staff on it looking to bias conversations and gain valuable intelligence for their small minded harmful activities from posts. This site is after all where that munnysaving spert got alot of ints info on how we consumers could enforce our rights a few years back.

 

Keep your posts clean of any info that can identify your case or you personally kids.. and be nice to each other out there.

 

:lol:

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Hi Rose,

There are Rail experts on here who can help you with this. As my own knowledge is limited on these matters.

 

Im sure they will drop in, as & when they are available.

 

Good luck!

I don't suffer from insanity, I enjoy every single minute of it!!

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Looks like you've been doing your homework rose. I hope someone more knowledgable than me can advise but just want to wish you luck in court. Is it tomorrow?

 

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I contacted court to ask if hearing going ahead, they advised me yes and court staff said always best to attend, I will go because I want this matter to end, although I've already pleaded guilty by post and submitted mitigation with the guilty plea.

 

If you have already entered a guilty plea and wish to contest the charge, you really do need to attend the next hearing and ask the Court to disregard your earlier plea.

 

What I am keen to know is where the "compulsory ticket area" is at Finsbury Park station and most importantly could anyone give me any pointers on what I should do or say at court..

 

If you are being prosecuted under National Railway Byelaw 18.2 as your further post suggests, the term 'Controlled Ticket Area' (CTA) has no relevance whatsoever.

 

Those who have or are being prosecuted for being unable to produce a ticket in non compulsiory ticket areas (I found outr today I wasn't even in an area where tickets are compulsory..) AFTER travelling should really check section 18 part 2 of the Railway Byelaws

 

Good advice - the offence in these circumstances is 'fail to hand over a ticket when asked'.

 

have a think about what it implies if someone demands money with menaces AFTER a journey has ended

 

This kind of rhetoric has been heard by the Courts many times before and has yet to succeed in my experience I'm afraid. You will need to provide firm evidence to the Magistrates that someone 'demanded money with menaces' in relation to the train fare for your journey, in order to succeed with this claim.

 

The train companies and many posters here would have you believe any violation of this part of Railway Byelaw is not contestible in court.

 

Every person alleged to have committed an offence has the right to challenge the evidence against them. I make no bones about the fact that I have stood before the Magistrates on countless occasions and listened whilst the Courts' Legal Advisor has explained to a defendant what is meant by the term a 'strict liability' offence.

 

We all understand and accept that the 'man on the Clapham Omnibus' cannot be expected to know the minutiae of every legislation in the land, but I personally believe it is always a good idea, when charged with any offence, to seek some sort of qualified advice and I always suggest that anyone in that position might do so before writing, saying, or doing anything that might prejudice their position.

 

You purchased a ticket you used it to enter a station you had it with you on the train, you exited the train.. It may be instructive to consider whether any authority can REASONABLY impose a sanction beyond the penalty fare or at all, for not having a ticket outside of the ticketing area

 

Please do not confuse this with anything relating to a CTA. Any fixation with 'ticket area', or 'Penalty Fare' will be irrelevant to the charge you have specified in this thread and the company is never obliged to accept, levy or issue a notice of Penalty Fare (where such notices can be used) when they believe that other action is justified.

 

If prosecuted for not buying a ticket in this circumstance

 

The offence you have identified is NOT a charge alleging a failure to BUY a ticket as I have explained.

 

 

  • Request to see the CCTV of where you bought the ticket.

 

  • Ask the train operating company to prove that a ticket was not bought for your journey when and where you bought it.

 

  • Read up on what the Railway Officer has to tell you before he can issue a penalty notice or fine.

 

  • Read up on the necessary display of notices for penalty fare areas.

 

  • DPA the train operator for all info a few weeks after asking for the above preferably after you've received the DPA response.

I don't intend to comment on each point separately, but do suggest that always relying on such actions as suggested might not get the result you hope for. Penalty Fares do not apply everywhere and cannot be relied upon as a resolution in all cases.

 

It would be very useful for anyone charged in this way to read the National Railway Byelaws (2005) and if you don't fully understand them or if you feel it necessary, see a qualified lawyer to get them to explain what they mean in relation to the allegation you are facing. They will then give you a clear appraisal of your chances of successfully defending the allegation.

 

 

  • Contest any untruths discovered in writing immediately.

Yes, when interviewed under caution, make sure that you read any notes made by an inspector, contest any points that you do not agree with and see the notes corrected before signing them as a true record. Your signature at the end of any notes does mean that you have agreed them and does also mean that anything added by the inspector after your signature cannot be directly attributed to you.

 

Don't be intimidated by aggressive railway staff treating you as a second class citizen (no pun intended) because they imagine you haven't bought a ticket which somehow means you're less than human so don't deserve to be treated like one.

 

I agree, NO-ONE, whether traveller, staff or spectator should be bullied or subjected to intimidation or aggression at any time.

 

Don't sign their paperwork and ask for acopy of anything they've written there and then.

 

Already covered, but do be aware that sometimes it can be impractical for an immediate copy to be provided. (Inspectors don't carry photocopiers around with them) You can ask to take a photograph of the notes using your mobile, or ask the inspector to make you a duplicate copy, but bear in mind that will take a little more time. An accurate copy cannot be rushed but you are entitled to ask for one. It may be more practical for the inspector to arrange for one to be posted to you and that means ensuring that they have always recorded your name & address correctly. Being charged additionally with giving false details is a more serious offence so it is in your best interests to make sure that they are properly noted.

 

Remember that some rail operators have been deliberately been using court summons to extract unreasonable settlements, it boosts their profits.

 

This is an understandable matter of personal opinion.

 

I think that this needs to be measured against Ministry of Justice comments that suggest many minor criminal matters that might otherwise be prosecuted, MAY be dealt with by administrative penalties. The rail companies are not 'obliged' to allow settlements, but in my experience, like all other prosecuting authorities they do consider all cases on merit..

 

On another note I liked this forum better in it's younger years, there weren't so many companies or their misguided staff on it looking to bias conversations and gain valuable intelligence for their small minded harmful activities from posts. This site is after all where that munnysaving spert got alot of ints info on how we consumers could enforce our rights a few years back.

 

Keep your posts clean of any info that can identify your case or you personally kids.. and be nice to each other out there.

 

:lol:

 

Good luck with whatever you decide to do.

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