I am sorry but I cannot give you good news. I'm afraid you are in difficulty here.
I have to tell you the truth.
I am sorry but it would be wrong of me to avoid giving you the downside of your
The short answer is that there is no failsafe way to stop this going to court. You accept travel without a valid ticket and so have committed an offence. They are entitled to prosecute it.
This is almost certainly S17 Railway ByLaws which are of strict liability. Either you did have a ticket or you did not.
You could ask them to give you the internal fine or to settle out of court. Sometimes they will agree to that. You cannot demand it though and usually they are in the region of £200-£300. But it is an offer you can make and it might work.
If it does go to court then you would only get a fine and it should not show on DBS checking as it is not prosecuted by CPS. There is an outside chance that it might but not likely.
Do remember that I can only give you my opinion.
Another lawyer may have a different opinion. Litigation needs at least 2 parties and neither goes to court expecting to lose.
Nonetheless, one of them does, even though they have been told by their respective legal advisers that they have a good chance of success.
If there was a black-and-white answer to every legal problem there would be no need for anything to ever proceed to court.
The ultimate decision comes from a county court judge in a civil case or from the magistrate in a criminal case heard in the magistrates court or the jury in Crown Court.
Hopefully, I have answered your query in a way that is simple and easy to understand. If anything remains unclear, I will be more than happy to clarify it for you. In the meantime, thank you once again for using our services.