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TFL Freedom Pass misuse, charged under Byelaw 17(1)

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Hi everyone,

 

I've lurked a little through some of the other freedom pass misuse threads but thought I'd make my own, sorry if you're tired of these.

 

Before I get into it, call me stupid (I am) but I really did not stop to think about where the money came from so people who need it can use freedom passes, what I was doing and how wrong it was, I only found out after doing some research and I feel extremely ashamed and disgusted at myself for this.

 

I completely admit what I did was wrong and if worst case scenario I am charged with it, I accept my faults and take responsibility.

However, if it can be helped I would really not like to hinder my future career, I really do not want this time of ignorance and foolishness to determine my future.

 

I was stopped by an inspector(?) on my way to my retail job who took my details,

I admitted it wasn't my card and I had taken it from my mother to avoid paying the fee and save money, and that I had done this more than this one time.

 

I then got a letter from TfL asking if I accept commiting the offence or not and any exceptional reasons, including evidence, as to why TfL should not proceed with a prosecution.

 

I replied with an email expressing my remose and accepting my actions and how foolish it was.

I explained why I did it, I was in a really difficult place with money which had been contributing to my depression so I had been using it to and from work, but I know this is no excuse and I know what I did was completely wrong.

 

I also explained the adverse impact it will have on my future career, and offer reasonable monetary sums equivalent to any related fines and administrative fees incurred by the company to settle out of court. The original email was a lot more thorough and remoseful but that is the main points I had, I'm happy to show the full email if necessary.

 

They did not reply to that email, but a few months later I recieved a letter inviting me to court.

It reads:

 

[NAME] You are required to appear on [DATE] at [TIME] before [X] Magistrates' Court at [X ADDRESS] to answer the following charge:

 

That you on [DATE OF OFFENCE] at Oxford Circus did enter a compulsory ticket area without having with you a valid ticket. Contrary to Byelaw 17(1) of the Transport for London Railway Byelaws made under paragraph 26 of Schedule 11 to the Greater London Authority Act 1999 and confirmed under section 67 of the Transport Act 1962.

 

[...]

 

On [DATE] [DEFENDANT] travelled from [sTATION] to Oxford Circus station. At 7:52am she produced a Disabled Persons Freedom Pass of high value that did not belong to her and was not valid for her to use. She admitted the pass belonged to her mum and that she was using it to save money. Further analysis of the recent usage of the pass showed an addition 48 journeys where fares totalling £237.40 has been avoided.

 

An application will be made in court for a £338 contributtion towards TfL...

 

I believe my case will be a difficult one considering the number of uses.

I hope to settle out of court and pay any fines, and if they decide not to I will attend the court and plead guilty and explain how sorry I am even if they do charge me.

 

Currently I am unsure what to do from here.

They did not reply to my initial email.

 

Should I be contacting the Investigations, Appeals and Proecutions team?

 

Should I plead guilty on the court letters I have recieved as soon as possible?

 

What exactly is Byelaw 17(1)?

 

will I be getting a criminal record, what are my possible outcomes?

 

I assume worst case is I get a criminal record, and best case is I settle out of court, but are there any other outcomes?

 

How much will any kind of record hinder my career, what kind of checks are done?

 

 

 

Thank you for taking the time to read and any advice will be greatly appreciated.

Edited by dx100uk
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Hopefully the experts will be able to advise on your main questions, but in the meantime....

 

"What exactly is Byelaw 17(1)?" Byelaw 17 (1) just says what you know, you must not travel in a compulsory ticket area without a valid ticket (and obviously yours wasn't valid):

 

17. Compulsory ticket areas

(1) No person shall enter a compulsory ticket area on the railway unless he has with him a valid ticket.

 

"Will I be getting a criminal record" Yes, if convicted in the Magistrates Court. Byelaw 23

 

23. Offence and level of fines

Any person who breaches any of the Byelaws commits an offence and may be liable for each such offence to a penalty not exceeding level 3 on the standard scale.

 

The full TfL Railway Byelaws are here if you want to read them: http://content.tfl.gov.uk/railway-byelaws.pdf

 

"How much will any kind of record hinder my career, what kind of checks are done?".

 

Impossible to answer for sure, it depends what your career plans are. But a conviction for dishonesty (which is what this is) will not help you get jobs and in some types of job it could be a significant obstacle. eg jobs in financial services, teaching. Most job application forms ask if you have had a criminal conviction and it must be disclosed. In jobs where your criminal record is important employers get a direct check of your record on the Police National Computer made (called the 'DBS Disclosure' scheme). The good news for you is that if the criminal conviction only results in a fine it is 'spent' after 1 year from the date of conviction. That means that for most (but not all) purposes you can treat the conviction as if it never happened and you do not have to disclose it. I say most, not all, circumstances because there are some jobs where convictions are never spent and may always have to be disclosed, or may have a much longer period before they become spent (eg 11 years for a fine). That's jobs like police, some health service jobs, teaching, financial services. (All this assumes this is your only conviction, it gets more complicated if you have more than one conviction).

 

You can read up on 'spent convictions' here: https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/299916/rehabilitation-of-offenders-guidance.pdf

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Should I be contacting the Investigations, Appeals and Proecutions team? - yes check they got the email

Should I plead guilty on the court letters I have received as soon as possible? yes

 

What exactly is Byelaw 17(1)?- use google

 

will I be getting a criminal record, what are my possible outcomes? yes you will if not settled out of court

 

I assume worst case is I get a criminal record, and best case is I settle out of court, but are there any other outcomes? no.

 

How much will any kind of record hinder my career, what kind of checks are done? they will see a criminal conviction.

…………….….

 

firstly and for future readers … never ever use email.

you should have written.

 

there is no harm in now ringing them up and pleading over the phone

1st port of call is to check they received your email.

if they did not then ask them there and then where to send a copy too and stay with them on the phone till they have.

then offer to ring back later..

 

what date is the court case.

you can negotiate right up until you all enter the court room on the day.

 

I have known several cases that have resulted in an OOC settlement when talking to them outside awaiting to go in for the hearing.

 

now from memory I've not seen a case of such blatant usage [48 times] achieving that but there is still hope.

 

however be aware this will cost you dearly to settle OOC

 

 


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Thank you both so much for the information.

The date of the court is early next month.

I understand I'm in a pretty bad position and I don't have much faith of being able to settle out of court but I will definitey try for the sake of my future.

I also did not know about the whole spent after a year thing, I will read more into this.

 

I was also wondering,

I will definitely attend the hearing but,

apart from being able to try settle out of court right before the hearing,

will there be much impact of my attending the hearing?

 

What difference will it make to the hearing if I plead guilty and do not attend than plead guilty and do attend?

Edited by dx100uk
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have you rung up yet?

 

yes attend the hearing and show remorse if its not settled by then and try and negotiate outside the court before entering.

yo might not have to plead at all to the judge that way,

 

get all the things in post 3 actioned...hang fire on the actual guilty plea to the court itself for now


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Thank you for the advice dx.

 

I called up and told the lady on the phone I was extremely sorry and the impact it will have on my future but told me she wouldn't be able to settle out of court and they've been told to treat every case the same.

 

I asked if she recieved my email and she said they had and the person who reviewed it had decided to go ahead with the prosecution.

 

She said there was nothing she can do on her end (I felt like she probably could but didn't want to since I've read on other threads of people helping them over the phone)

 

. I asked if there was anyone else I could talk to and she said no. She said I could try writing again for a manager to review and I should state this in my letter.

 

I guess all I can do now is write to them again and call up constantly to get updates and hope I can change their mind.

 

If it comes down to going to court, which I will definitely attend, what difference will me pleading guilty at court make?

 

I will 100% get a criminal record if it does end up in court right?

 

Thanks.

Edited by dx100uk
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Yes send new letter by recorded delivery

Examples are here

Then give it a day or two once received

Ring again and plead

 

Yes plead guilty when the time comes

That will give you a better chance speaking to then before you go into the hearing


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Just an update, I sent the second letter on Monday for next day delivery, they recieved it on Tuesday.

I called back today and the man on the phone told me there's been no update yet and I should call back on Monday next week.

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Just an update!

 

I called and this very nice man picked up this time he was very helpful.

He told me apparently they have been told off by courts for doing settlements out of court for these kinds of cases, as it was for the courts to decide the case.

 

He said there isn't much I can do now apart from attend the hearing and ask the usher to speak to one of the TfL prosecutors before the case is heard, and bring any emails or letters that have been sent.

 

He also said bring any evidence of mitigating circumstances however I am not sure what fits as a mitigating circumstance, I do not think they will care about my financial struggle and mental health issues.

 

All I can do now is just wait for the hearing and accept what comes to me for my foolish actions.

 

I am going to send in the court letters to the court, should I write anything in the "statement the accused may wish to volunteer" section?

 

Also they have attached a copy of "schedule of offence(s) to be taken into consideration" with all my unpaid journies and a section for me to sign it.

I am confused if I should be signing these?

Edited by dx100uk
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if you did the journeys yes don't lie!


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No worries I do not intend to lie was just confused.

 

I am wondering also if mentioning my depression in mitigating circumstances will be helpful at all?

Also if I should write anything in the "statement the accused may wish to volunteer"?

Will I need to attach my emails sent to TfL with the court letters?

 

Many thanks.

Edited by dx100uk
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if you wish but whatever you put make it brief, concise and to the point, don't waffle!


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Hello! Another update. I've sent off all my court forms and everything.

 

I recieved a reply from TfL today. They said they were not persuaded to issue a warning on this occassion due to the extent of usage which is very understandable but sucks.

 

The letter also reads "You have been charged with one offence of being in a compulsory ticket area without a valid ticket. This is the lowest offence for which you could have been charged with, and there is no 'dishonest' element contained within the wording of the charge."

 

I am not quite sure what this means. At this point I feel there is nothing left to do than speak to the prosecutor on the day of court.

 

Thanks for your time.

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Hi.

 

Did you mention 'dishonest wording' in your letter to them? I'm wondering where they got that from.

 

HB


Illegitimi non carborundum

 

 

 

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I did not at all which confused me too. I guess they are trying to say it will not be an offence for dishonesty which is the best case for me?

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it means they are resolving you from anything to do with 'knowingly' taking and using your mothers card as it is classed as fraud and deception to 'knowingly' do so.

 

good result , IMHO this slightly points to the fact they have sympathy , this could well give you a better chance of an OOC on the day.

 

when's the case. although it might sound 'pushy', I can see there being no harm in ringing again and pleading for OOC now.

will show how desperate you are.


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Hello!

 

Update who is wondering or also in a similar situation to mine, and is not sure what to expect.

 

I called again a few days before the hearing and TfL said they just do not settle out of court and have been told not to anymore.

 

Then it was the day of my hearing, I got there an hour early at opening time to speak to the TfL prosecutor, which apparently you have to talk to before you are heard anyway. I got to talk to the prosecutor and said I was very sorry, the impact it will have on my future and asked if there was any chance of settling out of court and he said unfortunately they could not do so, I feel like I should have maybe said more to the prosecutor but I'm not sure if it would've made a difference. He also said USUALLY with these kinds of offences they only stay on your record for a year.

 

After a few hours I had my hearing.

I have never been to a magistrates court before so I did not know what to expect.

The clerk told me they didn't receieve any of my court summons letters because they were having problems with post (which I believe not true as I had sent my letters guranteed and signed and tracking showed them delivered) so I had to fill in all the court forms again.

 

The magistrate who was speaking did not speak with a nice tone but this should be expected.

They asked what I was pleading, and why I did it.

I could not speak much out of anxiety, but I'm not sure it would've made a difference anyway, I just said I was very sorry and it was due to financial difficulty, nothing else about the circumstances I was in and anything about my mental health. If anything I recommend anyone going to court to prepare what they want to say before going into court, something short and to the point.

 

Honestly a lot of this part was a blur to me because I was so anxious and they almost make you feel like you've murdered someone (I did not expect them to be as harsh as they were). That being said I believe the offence I received for "not having a valid ticket" rather than anything to do with dishonesty was the best case scenario (obviously after settling out of court). They also gave me a £30 fine + court fees + TfL fees I evaded, I believe the fine was discounted due to my circumstances.

 

I have indeed learnt a lot from this and I'll finally be able to move forward in my life.

 

My advice to anyone in the same situation is, try to pester TfL as much as you can to settle out of court, write in and call them often to get updates. You can try settle out of court right up until before your actual hearing. I feel as they would have considered settling out of court for my case if it was not such a high usage on the pass. If you cannot settle out of court, then attend the court and plead guilty to get the "best" possible punishment.

 

I am waiting for the letters to arrive of my offence so I can research more about it, as I'm unsure how long this does stay with me.

Edited by dx100uk
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thank you.


PLEASE DONT HIT QUOTE IF THE LAST POST IS THE ONE YOU ARE REPLYING TOO.

MAKES A THREAD TWICE AS LONG TO SCROLL THROUGH!

please do not post jpg images directly to a topic..USE PDF ....READ UPLOAD.

 

WE CAN'T GIVE ADVICE BY PM - IF YOU SEND ME A LINK TO YOUR THREAD - I WILL BE HAPPY TO OFFER HELP THERE

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