Railcard fine

Trying to get some advice about an issue my son has. I purchased a young persons railcard for him, he bought a ticket using the railcard to travel to work but when asked to show the railcard during his journey couldn't login to the app as he had forgotten the password. The inspector took his name and address. This happened in July 2021 and in Feburary 2022 he has had over £500 taken directly from his wages under a court order, with no notification or correspondence from northern rail. He has contacted the court who have told him if he can prove he has not had correspondence the case will be void. In communication with northern rail he has seen they have the incorrect address for him - he lives in flat 2, number 16 and they just have number 16. We have found proof of purchase of the valid railcard and have forwarded this to northern rail. His concern is he has pleaded not guilty by post and now has to go to court in July to contest this. Could he end up with a criminal record/CCJ? It seems very unfair as he did actually have a valid railcard and had bought the correct ticket. Northern rail have made the mistake in sending correspondence to the wrong address. If there is a risk of a criminal record or CCJ is he better to just take the hit? He has already had the money taken from his wages and would have to wait until after July to have this refunded anyway.

Comments

  • tacpot12
    tacpot12 Posts: 7,845
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    edited 16 March 2023 at 5:58PM
    What court is he going to Magistrates or County Court? If he going to the County court, then this can't turn into a criminal conviction. If he is going to a Magistrates Court it might. I don't know. 

    Northern Rail might argue that he gave them the wrong number in order to avoid the fine, but I think a judge should find that the fact they have most of the address correct (including presumably the Post Code) suggests that it is an administrative error and not your son giving them the wrong address. County Court cases are decided on "the balance of probabilities", and I think the fact that most of the address is correct and there is an obvious transposition of the flat and the house number means that it is more likely to be an administrative error.

    Proving that you have not received communications is very difficult, and I would be very surprised if your son had not received communication - how many flats are there at No 16? And do all the other residents know your son's name? Realistically if there are four flats or less, and everyone in the building knows the names of the other residents, he will have received the court documents. However, I think that the address help by Northern Rail being wrong, can be worked in his favour. He just needs to be honest and sincere in court. 

    Your son needs to get a password manager on his phone sharpish. Tell him not to use the one that is built into his phone's operating system, but to get a seperate app like LastPass or Keeper. There is no excuse for forgetting a password in this day and age.    
    The comments I post are my personal opinion. While I try to check everything is correct before posting, I can and do make mistakes, so always try to check official information sources before relying on my posts.
  • josyd
    josyd Posts: 17
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    I'm not sure which court it is as I haven't seen the documents. He didn't have the password because I set up the railcard the day before and hadn't sent it to him.

    The address is wrong as there is a house on the road which is just number 16 and not split into flats. It is student flats and he doesn't know the names of other residents so I would be surprised if he knows theirs!


  • daveyjp
    daveyjp Posts: 12,385
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    https://www.nationalrail.co.uk/National%20Rail%20Conditions%20of%20Travel.pdf

    Section 8 of the link covers the situation where a Railcard can't be presented.
  • Grizebeck
    Grizebeck Posts: 2,651
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    It will be Magistrates and fairly easy to deal with
    Advocate in the County Court dealing with a variety of cases, attending the courts in the North East and North Yorkshire
  • skipness
    skipness Posts: 45
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    First step is to complete a “statutory declaration” that he did not receive the court documents (and was convicted in his absence). This has the effect of resetting the clock and removing any conviction and fines.
  • josyd
    josyd Posts: 17
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    He has done this already :)
  • jbuchanangb
    jbuchanangb Posts: 1,321
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    The effect of the Statutory Declaration is to cancel the court action the conviction and the fine. Hopefully the court will explain how the £500 can be refunded. All the Train Operating Companies have a policy that failure to produce a valid railcard will not incur a penalty once per year as long as the valid railcard is sent to them promptly when the relevant correspondence is received. As it has been established that no correspondence was received, you could reasonably expect Northern, in reopening the case, to apply this policy, as long as your son can furnish the railcard which was valid at the time of travel.
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