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SWT court summons, what to do next? - ** SETTLED **


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Hi

 

In August of last year I was caught by an inspector on a train to Waterloo, with the wrong ticket. I had purchased a cheaper ticket that would not reach my destination, when I was questioned I panicked about the fine and initially gave a different address to my own. I then admitted this and signed the inspectors statement.

 

I won't make excuses, it was the worst decision I have ever made and was something that has caused me great pain and regret since. All I can say is that I was travelling up to a temporary work placement for which I was not getting paid and was short of money at the time, also my mum is a recovering alcoholic and had a relapse the previous day. These are the only factors I can give that contributed to what was a stupid and idiotic action. I cannot stress enough the pain and regret I have experienced since. It was a first time offence and I'm not usually the sort of person to get in trouble.

 

In December SWT sent me a letter asking for further details to which I duly responded, humbly apologising as much as I could and asking whether they would consider settling out of court.

 

I have just heard back from them yesterday as I have received a court summons to attend in February.

 

I have read many forum posts and believe the next step I should take is to ring them up and try to get them to agree and out of court settlement. Is this the best way to go about this?

 

James

Edited by honeybee13
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Hello and welcome to CAG, James. I've popped a few paragraphs into your post, to make it easier to read.

 

Yes, you can try ringing SWT's prosecutions office to continue asking if they will settle out of court. You can negotiate up to and including the day it goes to court. Someone like Old-Codja can talk you through that part and taking cash with you on the day.

 

You need to enter a plea to the mags court. Have you done that or do you know how you are going to plead?

 

My best, HB

Illegitimi non carborundum

 

 

 

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Thanks for your reply and any help you can provide. I know I deserve it but this has been a nightmare over the last few months, I feel I've punished myself enough but anyway I just to get to the best possible outcome.

 

I will try and get in contact with them over the phone and see if there's any resolution we can come to.

 

If this can't be reached I feel the best thing I can do is submit a guilty plea by post, to try and get the fine reduced. If it came to this, would I still attend court? Firstly to speak to the prosecutor and if nothing can be agreed to apologise in court and admit guilt. What are repercussions other than the fine?

Thanks

James

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It might be worth going to court to try and make a good impression on the mags, but as you say you could also speak to the prosecutor.

 

I'd say it's worth a try if you cant settle before. Let's see what the others think.

 

HB

Illegitimi non carborundum

 

 

 

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I have just heard back from them yesterday as I have received a court summons to attend in February.

 

I have read many forum posts and believe the next step I should take is to ring them up and try to get them to agree and out of court settlement. Is this the best way to go about this?

 

 

Your frank admission and explanation of what you did is refreshing. Thank you.

 

What charges are specified in the Summons/es that you have received?

 

I note that you said that you paid a short fare and gave a false address so, correct me if you have received something different, but I would expect that you will have received Summonses specifying the following two charges:

 

i) that you did pay a fare for a shorter distance than that you intended to travel and did travel beyond the distance for which you had paid with the intention of avoid payment of the correct fare contrary to Section 5(3)(b) of The Regulation of Railways Act [1889]

 

ii) that when asked for your address you did give false details to an officer of the railway company with the intention of avoiding payment of the correct fare contrary to Section 5(3)© of The Regulation of Railways Act [1889]

 

If this is the case, you may consider writing to SWT expressing sincere remorse, apologising to the company and giving an undertaking never to travel without a valid rail ticket in future and ask if you might be allowed to dispose of this matter by paying any outstanding fare along with all of the costs that have been reasonably incurred in dealing with this matter.

 

Sending your letter by signed for/recorded delivery is a very good idea. Allow a couple of days to ensure that your letter has been received and then follow up with a polite telephone call.

 

The TOC do not have to agree to settle these matters by this process, but you lose nothing by trying. Let us know how you get on.

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Firstly i'd like to thank you for your advice, as much as i'm in the wrong for committing this offence, like i stated before this is not in my nature and was a first offence.

Despite my wrongdoings it means a lot to have helpful advise and information regarding the situation, to help me to gain the best possible outcome and try and put right what i have done wrong.

 

I will also state that i'm a student and am very worried about the implications this could have on my future. Going forward i intend to be as honest and helpful as possible in order to try and get this resolved. If i cannot settle out of court, i believe i will plead guilty by post to minimise the fine, i don't see any need for the witness to attend. If i pleaded guilty by post, do i need to attend court as well?

 

The charges are worded slightly differently but i believe the ones you have suggested are correct.

 

I will write to them first i think, i did try to apologise and offer to pay in my letter that responded to them asking for details about the event. However whether this is ignored as they were only concerned with the details at that point, i'm not sure. I will try writing to them again, particularly as i want to make my remorse clear and really apologise for what i've done.

 

How do i send the letter by signed for/recorded delivery?

 

Thanks

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In the letter i write to them, should i address it to the prosecuting officer. The information i have been given is by Mr J Allan of SWT prosecutions department, i believe it would be best to address it to him?

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In the letter i write to them, should i address it to the prosecuting officer. The information i have been given is by Mr J Allan of SWT prosecutions department, i believe it would be best to address it to him?

 

 

Yes, the wording of the charge may vary according to who wrote it, but the general content should be similar and the legislation will be clear

 

Yes, replies by recorded delivery always best

 

Yes, write to whoever wrote to you.

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Should i mention in the letter about my mother struggling with alcohol addiction and that she had a relapse just before the incident? This is not a direct reason for what i did or an excuse, but her illness has been deeply upsetting and difficult to deal with at times and has been going on for the last few years. I believe it has affected me badly at times and has clouded my judgement. This particular relapse certainly meant my head was not in the right place when i committed the offence.

 

I have written the letter out and will add a small bit about the above if that is suggested.

 

I hope to post it later today.

 

The court hearing is due on Feb 12th.

 

Any more advise from anyone would be greatly appreciated, thanks for your time.

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Should i mention in the letter about my mother struggling with alcohol addiction and that she had a relapse just before the incident? This is not a direct reason for what i did or an excuse, but her illness has been deeply upsetting and difficult to deal with at times and has been going on for the last few years. I believe it has affected me badly at times and has clouded my judgement. This particular relapse certainly meant my head was not in the right place when i committed the offence.

 

I have written the letter out and will add a small bit about the above if that is suggested.

 

I hope to post it later today.

 

The court hearing is due on Feb 12th.

 

Any more advise from anyone would be greatly appreciated, thanks for your time.

 

Hi James,

 

I wouldn't mention specifics that could look like excuses. If you feel you have to explain this, simply say you were struggling with a personal issue which lead to your error of judgement, making clear you're not trying to excuse your actions, or defend them. You should make it clear that this was a one-off error on your part and you fully appreciate the severity of what you have done. I'd also say that a conviction could affect your future job prospects and ask that they consider allowing you to meet all their reasonable admin costs in order not to take the matter to court.

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Hi

Thanks for the reply, i did mention some of the above but only briefly and made it clear that this was not an excuse for my actions. I was honest and did not defend my actions. I have made clear all of your suggestions in the letter.

 

I am now trying to ring the department to try and speak to someone to follow on from the letter. However i cannot get hold of them, the number simply rings out.

The number i am ringing is 02380728022

 

Do you know of a different number by which to contact them? I am confused as to why no one is picking up the phone or why there is not answer machine or automated message.

 

I will keep trying the number for the time being.

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I have spoken to the customer relations team who in turn spoke to the prosecutions department, who have said they received the letter and have asked me to attend the court hearing.

I would like some advice as to where to go from here, thanks.

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I have spoken to the customer relations team who in turn spoke to the prosecutions department, who have said they received the letter and have asked me to attend the court hearing.

I would like some advice as to where to go from here, thanks.

I wouldn't take the Customer Services teams answer to be honest. You can obviously keep trying the number given, but they do get very busy due to the usual size of these departments. Of course you can attend court and speak to the prosecutor there.

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When I contacted the customer relations team they told me they spoke to the prosecution department whilst I was on hold and they said to attend the court hearing, I asked whether they had received my letter and they said yes, it seems like they are ignoring it.

I have to admit I feel absolutely gutted at the moment and feel like my future is slipping away from me. I now feel I have no control of the situation

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I am going to plead guilty by post and tell them that the witness need not attend. I hope to minimise the fine.

 

I know I would not need to attend court but I feel I should do so as it will be the last chance to plead to the prosecutor to settle my case out of court.

 

I'm absolutely gutted they have responded how they have, to be perfectly honest I am very scared for my future, particularly job prospects as I am still a student.

I had hoped the letter and fact it was a first time offence might have meant they would offer some leniency.

 

Any advise from anyone would be greatly appreciated right now. Thanks

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If you are summonsed for the two offences mentioned earlier, obviously it does result in a criminal record with the two convictions listed.

 

A disclosure (Criminal Records) check (which employers can request) would list these convictions as:

 

RW89005

Travelling beyond distance for which rail fare paid

 

RW89006

Giving false name and address

 

That is the terminology used on Disclosure certificates, word for word, so employers may be a bit more understanding than you expect.

 

Realistically, I'd say you're probably looking at a fine of £350-£400, £100 costs, plus the rail fare, so around £500.

 

If they've read your letter and told you that they are still proceeding, and you've chosen NOT to attend court, then there's not very much you can do!

 

You could attend court in person, and arrive a few hours before the hearing was scheduled and try and find the SWT prosecutor, and see if he will negotiate a settlement with you, but you'd have to take hard cash with you, so if he does agree, you can make immediate payment.

 

That is pretty much your only option!

 

The "false name/address" thing is the fatal element!

 

In the event other legislation is used, combinations of the below codes will appear on the CRB:

 

RL05044

Enter compulsory ticket area without a ticket - Railway byelaw

 

RL05045

Board a train without a valid ticket - Railway byelaw

 

RL05046

Fail/refuse to hand over a valid ticket - Railway byelaw

 

RL05047

Occupy reserved seat/berth without a valid ticket - Railway byelaw

 

RL05048

Alter a ticket with intent to defraud - Railway byelaw

 

RL05049

Use an altered ticket with intent to defraud - Railway byelaw

 

RL05050

Buy/sell ticket from unauthorised source - Railway byelaw

 

RL05051

Transfer/receive a used/partly used ticket - Railway byelaw

 

RL05052

Use ticket obtained from unauthorised person/machine - Railway byelaw

 

RL05053

Sell ticket as an unauthorised person - Railway byelaw

 

RL05054

Purchase ticket with incorrect fare for use by another - Railway byelaw

 

RL05055

Produce/transfer ticket with incorrect fare - Railway byelaw

 

RL45002

Refuse to quit railway carriage at destination

 

RW89004

Travelling without paying rail fare

 

RW89005

Travelling beyond distance for which rail fare paid

 

RW89006

Giving false name and address

 

RW89007

Attempting to travel without paying rail fare

 

RW89008

Failing to show ticket and failing to pay fare and failing to provide name and address

 

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Thanks for your help

 

So as I see it at the moment:

- I will plead guilty by post and attend court

- I can try to negotiate with the prosecutor before the hearing

- If I cannot negotiate I will make my apologies in the court and await the consequences

- I will be given a fine, how is this paid? Is it usually in instalments?

- I will then get a criminal record and recieve the above statements on my crb check?

- you suggest employers may be considerate with these offences? Would these only have worse implications just on certain industries such as law etc? I'm not looking to enter law or civil service etc

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Hello Stigy and thank you for answering.

 

Would I be right in saying that you mean speak to the prosecutor before the case is heard please? Just to avoid any misunderstanding. :)

 

HB

Hi, yes that's what I meant. It's been answered now anyway in depth, but I can't emphasis enough how important attending court can be. It shows the prosecutor you're remorseful, and also gives you extra chance to speak to them to try and agree a settlement to have the matter withdrawn.

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Hi

Thanks for your help again

 

I would like to ask how much money i should take with me on the day?

 

I believe it was mentioned this could total around £500, should i withdraw this amount to take with me?

 

Thanks

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Hi

Thanks for your help again

 

I would like to ask how much money i should take with me on the day?

 

I believe it was mentioned this could total around £500, should i withdraw this amount to take with me?

 

Thanks

 

£500 should be enough.

 

Remember, it won't guarantee that he will accept it!

 

You also have to be careful not to "negotiate" too much, if you go in with too low an offer he may well just walk away! But you also don't just want to hand over £500, if he'll accept £300, if you understand?

 

You basically need to hand over as much as you can afford, whilst considering if it is worthwhile handing over that amount to avoid a conviction. You'll get one shot at it so if you can't really afford to lose £500, don't offer it!

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