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Jo C.
Jo C., Barrister
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 71146
Experience:  Over 5 years in practice
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I was travelling on a train on 6 July 2015. I do have a 7 day

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I was travelling on a train on 6 July 2015. I do have a 7 day season ticket to travel in standard class between Station M and Cambridge for w/c 6 July 2015. Unbeknown to me I was sitting in first class when I boarded an Abelleo Greater Anglia train from Cambridge to Ely (Station A requires a change at Ely). When I got on the train I followed others in front of me through an open doorway, sat down, and started reading. When a ticket inspector came through it turned out I had in fact sat in 1st Class. Unfortunately I had also left my pass in office that being my first day back from holiday so did not have ticket to show. I honestly did not realise it was first class as I normally travel on a later train which is run by a different operator and the last carriage is not usually first class and also has a closed door into first class and I have been catching this train run by Cross Country for 9 years. I was totally embarrassed when the ticket inspector said I was in first class as the carriage was full. I gave the ticket inspector all of my correct contact details as I had left my ticket in the office when requested. When I got off at Ely I also purchased a 7 day season ticket 1st class between Ely and Cambridge. I did send off a copy of both of my 7 day season tickets. I have now received letter of intent to take this to the Magistrates Court and it also provides me with the opportunity to tell them what happened from my point of view and I am not sure how to proceed. I do still have my original 7 day season tickets. Also when this happened I noticed the journey between Ely and Cambridge was much more pleasant and less crowded and I have since purchased 7 day seasons tickets, one standard between Station A and Ely and one 1st Class between Ely and Cambridge weekly ever since. I again have kept all of the original tickets. This was a case of it being an honest mistake, which I tried to rectify by purchasing a 1st class 7 day season ticket on arrival into Ely. I have been travelling daily to work on tubes and trains now for over 30 years. I realise now I should have just spoken up instead of staying quiet to cover my complete embarrassment about the carriage mistake. On reading a number of websites I am unable to find any other similar situations and the general advice appears to be, not to provide all of the honest and truthful details as I am admitting guilt albeit an honest mistake due to my foolishness and total embarrassment and they say I will definitely be prosecuted. Your advice would be very much appreciated. Thank you.
Thank you for your question. My name is ***** ***** I will try to help with this.
How can I help with this please?
Customer: replied 2 years ago.

Hi Jo, I need to know how to respond please as I do not want to go to court just because I was embarrassed about this honest issue I have created. Thank you

Customer: replied 2 years ago.

Hi Jo, since sending my last reply, asking how I should proceed I forgot to also mention I am also happy to pay for any administration cost incurred and a potential reasonable fine. Thank you

Are you willing to make an offer of an out of court settlement? They would probably want around £300.
Customer: replied 2 years ago.

Yes that would be fine. As I said this was an honest mistake due to embarrassment on my part. If it helps I also know now a number of the guard on the Cross County trains with whom I have travelled with for 9 years who could vouch for the fact that I do normally catch that train.

If they are proposing to summons you for Regulation 18 of the Railway Bye Law then it doesn't matter whether this was an honest mistake or not. The only test is whether or not you had a ticket to cover travel and you did not for the relevant travel.
However, they will sometimes accept settlements that they call out of court settlements. I have to say that I would love to know on what basis they think they can do that. This is a criminal matter and there can be no settlement out of court but obviously from your point of view you don't want to be looking a gift horse in the mouth.
Usually they want offers of £300 plus. They don't always agree but it is worth an attempt.
If they will not accept this though then you can plead guilty by post for this offence. It only carries a fine and is not recordable so will not show on your DBS check.
Can I clarify anything for you?
Jo C. and other Law Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 2 years ago.

Thank you Jo.

Yes please, can you please clarify:

* the letter is headed Notice of Intention to Prosecute. It states is it to in form me of their intention to take this case to the Magistrates Court and provides me with a sheet for me to use this opportunity to tell them what happened. There is no summons information regarding Regulation 18 of the Railway Bye Law.

* The letter also does not make any mention of any out of court settlements.

* Are you advising I provide them with the detail that I originally sent you at the start of this thread and also make an offer of an out of court settlement ?

* or send them the details only and wait to hear back from them?

* Also, if they will not accept an out of court settlement how would I plead guilty by post?

* and if I plead guilty by post based on what you have advised, what should I expect a fine in the region of please?

* If the fine was large could I pay any fine in instalments?

Thank you.

Does it quote any legislation ?
What charge are they going to summons you for?
Customer: replied 2 years ago.

Hi Jo

No legislation quoted.

Details of the offence: failing to hand over a rail ticket for inspection.

Thank you.

That is regulation 18.
Just make an offer. They do sometimes accept them. You can phone them and make an offer.
Customer: replied 2 years ago.

* If I ring them and make an offer and they say no, where do I go from there?

* Should I return the form with the 21 days they are asking with my response of what happened (beginning of this thread)? and attach a letter making the offer?

*How would I get back to you with a free follow up question ?

Thank you

Well, then you are stuck with pleading by post.
I don't think that the question closes from your side. You should be able to come back months after.
Customer: replied 2 years ago.

OK. If it transpires I am stuck with pleading by post, then should I return the form with the 21 days they are asking with my response of what happened (beginning of this thread)?

or wait for a form that allows me to please by post?


Yes, basically but the 21 day requirement is not a legal requirement. It is just their demands and nothing more.
Customer: replied 2 years ago.

OK thank you very much.

Would you recommend me to get a solicitor to deal with this for me? or do it myself as per your advise. Do you really think having a solicitor would make a difference please?

It is generally better to have representation but it does rack up the cost and a lot of this you can do yourself for free.