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wanderers68

Season Ticket out of date, Court Summons,case to be heard on Monday!!!

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Hi

 

In July my son was travelling by train from Bolton to Manchester to go to work.

He had a monthly pass which he showed to the ticket inspector before going to the platform and catching the train.

It was only when he got off the train at Manchester that another ticket inspector noticed the pass was two days out of date.

 

 

My son explained that he had not noticed it was out of date as he had not used it for over a week as he had been off work for a week

and offered to purchase a ticket.

He was told all he needed to do was give him his details and the reason why he had not noticed the ticket was out of date which he did.

 

He thought nothing more of it until

 

 

last Thursday a letter came here for him (as he was living with me at the time)

because he was working away he asks me to open any mail that may come here instead of his own address which I did and

 

 

it was a court summons stating that the case was to be heard Dec 1st.

 

 

I've spoken to him as he is still working away and he is not sure what to do.

He can pay a £100 fine and it doesn't go to court,

plead guilty and receive a fine of up to £150

or plead not guilty and if found guilty he could receive a fine of up to £1000 (the original fare he should of paid is £4.10).

 

We're both really angry because the letter states he had received two letters in August

one asking for an explanation and the other informing him of the fine

because he had given them my address they would of come here and I definitely know they didn't.

 

 

Also the documents are stamped 4th November and it didn't arrive until the 20th November!

 

The documents have two witness statements the ticket inspector and an admin women who states two letters were sent and has them as exhibits.

 

We both had a discussion

on one hand should he just pay the early settlement fee of £100 he has until tomorrow to do that

or should he plead not guilty as it was a genuine oversight

and not as the charge states an act to intentionally avoid paying the fare.

 

Any advice would be really helpful but

 

 

we really need advice quickly as he only has until tomorrow to make a decision

 

 

and send the documentation back for Thursday.

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Hi wanderers68

 

Welcome to CAG

 

It isn't great that he has been unable to put his case and his mitigating circumstances before the rail company.

 

On the day in question he did not have a valid travel card.

 

It sounds like paying the £100 fine might be the best option. The other options are likely to go against him because of the fact that he did not have a valid travel card. Although he has mitigating circumstances as he's previously paid for a travel card across the network and believed his travel card to be in date and valid.

 

If the matter goes to court there is a risk of getting a Criminal Record.

 

You are angry about the way they have handled the administration, rightly so. What's the name of the rail company?

 

There are industry experts who will also provide advice on the matter.

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pay the £100 to avoid the criminal record and DO IT QUICK

could take 3 days to clear.

 

 

THEN take up the fact that letters were not received.

 

 

however, as can be seen here

the 'out of court' settlements we see are FAR IN EXCESS of £100

 

 

to be honest that's a good deal!

 

 

take it and move on.

 

 

you wave arms around about letters etc etc

but even if he was successful in that I'd expect it to be MORE than £100!!

 

 

dx

 

 

 

 

dx


please don't hit Quote...just type we know what we said earlier..

 

if everyone stopped blindly paying DCA's tomorrow

the biggest financial industry in the UK, DCA;s would collapse overnight.

 

 

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I agree with the other contributors here.

 

 

If an opportunity to settle out of Court has been given and is still available, if taken up that will guarantee no criminal conviction and will be considerably cheaper than any penalty that may be imposed by Magistrates.

 

 

I assume this is a prosecution being undertaken by Northern Rail?

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Hi wanderers68

 

If it is Northern Rail; this is only regards the administration and lack of communication from Northern Rail and nothing to do with the Summons which you need to deal with separately, but swiftly.

 

Regards admin/communication:-

 

Write a Formal Letter of Complaint, mark it as such. Explain what's happened (traveled with the honest belief that ticket hadn't expired), how they have let you down (you haven't received letters requesting your side of events and you were unable to present your mitigating circumstances, where other passangers in a similar situation would have been able to) and what you want them to do.

 

Send it to:-

 

Mr Alex Hynes

Managing Director

Northern Rail

alex.hynes@northernrail.org

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hi rebel11

 

 

thank you for your response

my son has spoken to someone they have said that he can send any relevant documentation tomorrow by special delivery

that includes a mitigation form and he has decided to plead not guilty and will call one witness as they have not mentioned in their statement that he offered to pay for the fare and also it needs to be clarified that if his ticket/pass was not recognised to be valid at the beginning of the journey by the ticket inspectors this situation would of been avoided.

 

 

the issue about having a criminal record if we allow this money making fine culture to continue 70% of us will end up with some kind criminal record

the railway company was northern rail ltd

 

 

any advice with regards to dealing with this in court would be welcome

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BAD MOVE!

 

 

dx


please don't hit Quote...just type we know what we said earlier..

 

if everyone stopped blindly paying DCA's tomorrow

the biggest financial industry in the UK, DCA;s would collapse overnight.

 

 

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Hi wanderers68

 

If he's going to plead not guilty, then he needs to seek advice from a solicitor who specializes in railway cases.

 

The travel card not checked is down to 'human error', remember they checked thousands each day. But the onus is on the traveller to have his/her travel card in order before commencement of journey. It is however an issue you can raise with the CEO in your Formal Letter of Complaint.

 

Unfortunately only the railway company can decide how to progress any breaches of their regulations, you can't say 'I'll pay the ticket' and they 'accept'.

 

It might be an idea to email the letter to the CEO as soon as possible as per post (5).

 

As the guys have said, the matter can be settled out of court and is definately worth considering.

 

Just to add old-codJA is one of the indusry experts.

 

hi rebel11

 

 

thank you for your response

my son has spoken to someone they have said that he can send any relevant documentation tomorrow by special delivery

that includes a mitigation form and he has decided to plead not guilty and will call one witness as they have not mentioned in their statement that he offered to pay for the fare and also it needs to be clarified that if his ticket/pass was not recognised to be valid at the beginning of the journey by the ticket inspectors this situation would of been avoided.

 

 

the issue about having a criminal record if we allow this money making fine culture to continue 70% of us will end up with some kind criminal record

the railway company was northern rail ltd

 

 

any advice with regards to dealing with this in court would be welcome

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Hello

 

 

I'm sorry but I might be a little confused my sons court date is on Monday so how will contacting the CEO of Northern Rail help?

 

 

The case is now in the hands of Bolton Magistrates Court (I think?)

 

 

There is no solicitor that is why I have come to this forum.....

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hi rebel11

 

 

thank you for your response

my son has spoken to someone they have said that he can send any relevant documentation tomorrow by special delivery

that includes a mitigation form and he has decided to plead not guilty and will call one witness as they have not mentioned in their statement that he offered to pay for the fare and also it needs to be clarified that if his ticket/pass was not recognised to be valid at the beginning of the journey by the ticket inspectors this situation would of been avoided.

 

 

the issue about having a criminal record if we allow this money making fine culture to continue 70% of us will end up with some kind criminal record

the railway company was northern rail ltd

 

 

any advice with regards to dealing with this in court would be welcome

 

 

 

 

I am pretty sure that some people will not like what I am about to say, but rebel has made absolutely clear that the issue of any administration failings is a completely separate matter from that of the offence that is alleged by Summons.

 

What I hope to do is to illustrate something of the legislation and process so that your son understands why the TOC are where they are now in this case.

 

The rail company are never obliged to offer an opportunity to settle such matters in this way, but the Courts actually like the process because it keeps a great many relatively minor matters out of the Court system leading to fewer criminal convictions for such matters and at the same time, reduces the huge workload that faces an ever shrinking number of Court administrations these days.

 

Your son does need to recognise that it was he that travelled without a valid ticket and he that presented an expired season ticket when checked by the reporting inspector. The onus is on the traveller to ensure that they hold a valid ticket and if not, to obtain one where facilities are available before travelling. These are the issues that will be explored by any Court hearing and not the admin process concerning any settlement opportunity that may, or may not have been offered. The Ministry of Justice actually encourage Prosecutors to consider such options in some types of cases and where appropriate

 

Unless your son can present clear evidence that he was given authority to travel with an invalid ticket, simply saying "The man/woman on the platform said it was OK" is very unlikely to succeed. It is probably the most common 'excuse' that is heard daily by inspectors and Magistrates alike in cases such as this and they are rarely moved by it, but if he can identify the member of staff who passed the ticket and better still if he can get a statement from that person accepting a mistake, he might be in a stronger position.

 

Was your son cautioned and a brief interview carried out by the inspector who reported him?

 

If the TOC exhibit evidence that they have written two or more times to your son and that he has not replied to any letters, I am sure that when he is questioned in Court a decent prosecutor will ask about the postal service and any problems that he might have previously experienced, particularly as they will show that the Summons was delivered and clearly received and will probably identify that it was sent to the same address as the other letters (assuming that it was).

 

The content of those earlier letters will not concern the Magistrates, they will only be concerned with the fact that the TOC are seeking to show that they attempted to get your son to respond to the allegation before issuing a Summons, but he failed to do so. The Magistrates cannot insist the TOC give any opportunity to settle out of Court although very occasionally they might ask a prosecutor if he is authorised to 'take a view'.

 

The purchase of a ticket after an offence has been identified does not negate prosecution. The relevant extract from the Regulation of Railways Act is perfectly clear in stating 'having not previously paid his fare....' and National Railway Byelaw 18.1 makes a strict liability requirement that the fare must be paid before travelling.

 

Your son may of course exercise his right to plead 'not guilty' and put forward evidence to counter that put by the rail company prosecutor. There is no reason that he should not challenge the charge, but he really ought to seek the advice of a qualified lawyer before entering a plea.

 

One thing to be certain about is the actual charge that is laid. Has the rail company only issued a Summons alleging that he 'intended to avoid payment of the fare' contrary to S.5(3)(a) of the Regulation of Railways Act (1889), or have they issued a Summons alleging that he 'Did fail to pay his fare before travelling on a train' contrary to National Railway Byelaw 18.1 (2005) ?

 

If the latter charge has been laid, I am afraid that your son's chances of success are not so good.

 

I strongly suggest that he seeks qualified legal advice if he is set on pleading 'not guilty'.

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He can pay a £100 fine and it doesn't go to court,

plead guilty and receive a fine of up to £150

or plead not guilty and if found guilty he could receive a fine of up to £1000 (the original fare he should of paid is £4.10.

 

 

Perhaps you can advise where this bit of information above comes from please?

 

Yes, I can see and we all understand that Northern may accept a settlement of £100 to discontinue the case

 

The bit that says he can "plead guilty and receive a fine of up to £150" intrigues me. Northern cannot determine what fine the Magistrates may apply if your son pleads 'guilty'. I think that you have some misunderstanding here. I expect the £150 is the figure that Northern will apply for as prosecution costs if your son pleads guilty, or is convicted at trial.

 

The Magistrates may order all or part of any costs claim if a defendant pleads guilty or is convicted and this will be in addition to any fine they may impose (up to a maximum of £1000) and in addition to any compensation payable to the TOC, plus a victim surcharge introduced by the last government and imposed upon anyone who is fined by the Court.

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OJ you've never been anything other than truly honest

 

 

that you cannot be faulted for nor unliked.

 

 

IMHO, the OP's son needs to pay the £100 and quickly.

 

 

argue the toss afterwards if 'something' is not correct.

 

 

I don't think we've ever seen a settlement that low?

 

 

grab it with both hands.

 

 

dx


please don't hit Quote...just type we know what we said earlier..

 

if everyone stopped blindly paying DCA's tomorrow

the biggest financial industry in the UK, DCA;s would collapse overnight.

 

 

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You can write to the CEO regarding admin / lack of communication from the rail company, post (5).

 

Hello

 

 

I'm sorry but I might be a little confused my sons court date is on Monday so how will contacting the CEO of Northern Rail help?

 

 

The case is now in the hands of Bolton Magistrates Court (I think?)

 

 

There is no solicitor that is why I have come to this forum.....

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Hello

 

 

 

 

Can anyone help with what we need to prepare ourselves when going to court with no solicitor to defend against the case of not being aware your train pass expired two days before therefore cost Northern Rail Ltd £4.10?

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Hello

Can anyone help with what we need to prepare ourselves when going to court with no solicitor to defend against the case of not being aware your train pass expired two days before therefore cost Northern Rail Ltd £4.10?

 

 

 

 

I hope that I have tried to help you to understand the position and the legislation and am sorry if I haven't made it clear, but have to say I stand by my suggestion that your son needs to speak to a lawyer before entering a not guilty plea.

 

If he does not do so and if he pleads 'not guilty' on Monday the matter will be adjourned to full trial at a later date. That means that if he is then found guilty at that later trial he will lose the credit that the Court would have given for any early admission of liability.

 

The costs application that might be made by Northern if your son is found guilty at trial will also be very likely to be much higher as the prosecutor will incur time and expense in having to travel to Court twice and there will be the additional costs of bringing prosecution witnesses to Court to give live evidence.

 

The charge is NOT "the case of not being aware your train pass expired two days before", the charge is that specified on the Summons and the wording is specific for good reason. You still have not said what the exact charge is and if you had, we might have been able to offer case specific suggestions.

 

Ignorance of the legislation is not a defence against the charge and 'not knowing your ticket is expired' is not either. It is something that might be put in mitigation, but is not an acceptable reason for failing to comply with the rules.

 

You have made clear that there is no solicitor involved and therefore I assume that you are not a qualified lawyer. You will not therefore be allowed to present your son's defence. To have received a Summons to a Magistrates Court hearing your son will be 18 years of age or over on the date of the hearing and needs to deal with this himself and promptly

 

If your son takes the Summons and any papers that he has received to see a solicitor who specialises in criminal law before Monday he will get a realistic assessment of his chances. This need not be terribly expensive, most lawyers worth their name will give a short initial consultation for a small fixed fee and only if he then engages them to represent him in Court will further costs be incurred.

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Thank you

 

 

Unfortunately there is no more legal aid so we have to do the best we can

if we use a lawyer or a solicitor (not sure what the difference is?) the cost will be more than any fine.

 

 

He is over 18

 

 

any more advice other than get a lawyer would be welcome

 

 

also I think he doesn't need a lawyer who specialises in criminal law to assess his chances

 

 

he is going to represent himself any advice??

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Thank you

 

 

Unfortunately there is no more legal aid so we have to do the best we can

if we use a lawyer or a solicitor (not sure what the difference is?) the cost will be more than any fine.

 

 

He is over 18

 

 

any more advice other than get a lawyer would be welcome

 

 

also I think he doesn't need a lawyer who specialises in criminal law to assess his chances

 

 

he is going to represent himself any advice??

 

 

 

 

What is the exact wording of the charge specified on the Summons?

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In my opinion just accept the settlement of £100. you are digging yourself a deeper hole if your son pleads not guilty.

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I have previously responded to this post with one specific question that I have now asked three times and without getting an answer. It isn't possible to give any more detailed suggestions about how your son might proceed without knowing that essential fact.

 

 

Having said that, perhaps specific responses to your various comments might help you:

 

 

Unfortunately there is no more legal aid so we have to do the best we can

 

 

Legal aid would not cover this charge in any case unless your son has a history of offending. If a charge does not carry a custodial sentence option, legal aid would not apply. This is why the duty solicitor at any Court will not normally represent a defendant facing such a charge, unless the offender has a previous conviction, or if they decide to act 'pro-bono' because there is a procedural error in the prosecution file.

 

 

if we use a lawyer or a solicitor (not sure what the difference is?) the cost will be more than any fine.

 

 

Not necessarily. The only way that you can be sure of the cost is to ask a solicitor who specialises in criminal law and who is regularly at the Court where the case is to be heard. If convicted of a first offence of 'avoidance of a fare' the fine is likely to be in the region of £400 if a not guilty plea is entered, but unsuccessful and there may additionally be orders to pay prosecution costs (£150) plus a victim surcharge (£40) plus the unpaid fare, so something nearer £600 in total. If the option to settle is not taken up, but the traveller decides to plead 'guilty' to the charge the Magistrates will usually apply a reduction of about a third when calculating the fine. If the traveller is charged with the strict liability Byelaw offence, the likely fine will be haround half that quoted for 'avoidance of fare'.

 

The practised eye of a lawyer in reading the Summons and other papers may help avoid any conviction. They may very likely say, pay the out of Court option, it's the best deal, but until your son asks someone qualified to look at the papers you have no way of being certain.

 

 

He is over 18

 

 

Then as I said earlier, it seems likely that he has been correctly Summonsed and he has to deal with this himself or engage legally qualified representation.

 

 

any more advice other than get a lawyer would be welcome

 

 

Without sight of all the papers and without an answer to the question about the specific charge, which has been asked previously, it is not possible for anyone to give definitive suggestions.

 

 

 

also I think he doesn't need a lawyer who specialises in criminal law to assess his chances

 

 

This charge will be heard in a Criminal Court list. It is not a civil matter.

 

 

 

he is going to represent himself any advice??

 

 

I hope that your son has taken on board all of the suggestions that have been expressed by all of the contributors to this thread and fully understands that every one of them has been given in an attempt to help him to mitigate the effects of his own actions.

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Hi

 

 

Thank you for your comments and advice my son has read them and is in agreement with you all and has paid the out of court settlement fee today.

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Hello there.

 

Thank you for letting us know, I hope it works out for him. Once you know for sure that it's settled, it would be great if you would update the thread please. :)

 

And if you need any other advice, please come back to us.

 

HB


Illegitimi non carborundum

 

 

 

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well done best move.

 

 

now if there are outstanding issues write that letter


please don't hit Quote...just type we know what we said earlier..

 

if everyone stopped blindly paying DCA's tomorrow

the biggest financial industry in the UK, DCA;s would collapse overnight.

 

 

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I am pleased that your son will now be able to move on without further issue. Thanks for letting us know

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