Class in­jury

The Jewish Chronicle - - Features -

fare eva­sion, and that they in­tend to pros­e­cute and will seek the max­i­mum penal­ties, which they list as in­clud­ing a crim­i­nal record, a fine up to £1000, or a prison sen­tence, plus com­pen­sa­tion and costs. I am now fear­ful for his whole fu­ture ca­reer.

What should we do? Juliet, one of the joys for me in writ­ing this col­umn is that I get to re­search a host of le­gal prob­lems which do not nor­mally come my way, cer­tainly at this stage of my ca­reer. I am rather more fa­mil­iar, I con­fess, with de­fend­ing al­leged mur­der­ers than al­leged fare dodgers. How­ever, I think you can as­sume there is a good deal of hype in this stan­dard and heavy-handed let­ter from the rail­way com­pany, which was care­fully de­signed to strike just such fear into the hearts of its re­cip­i­ents. Your son’s solic­i­tor should write a full let­ter back, set­ting out the facts of his de­fence, and invit­ing them not to pros­e­cute. It should go on to warn that if they do pros­e­cute, he will seek costs against them if and when he is ac­quit­ted. To re­solve the mat­ter am­i­ca­bly and cheaply, it might be worth of­fer­ing to pay the £20 penalty at this stage, but stat­ing this is with­out any ad­mis­sion of li­a­bil­ity and purely to be rid of the mat­ter.

I find that he does un­doubt­edly have a good de­fence in law, if the facts are as you have said. Un­der some­thing called Rail­way Byelaw 17, made un­der Sec­tion 219 of the Trans­port Act 2000, it is a de­fence to trav­el­ling with­out a valid ticket if “there were no fa­cil­i­ties in work­ing or­der for the is­sue or val­i­da­tion of any ticket at the time when, and the sta­tion where, he be­gan his jour­ney… or an au­tho­rised per­son gave him per­mis­sion to travel with­out a valid ticket”. Hap­pily, your son ap­pears to qual­ify un­der both heads , Juliet. The above is not for­mal le­gal ad­vice and is given with­out li­a­bil­ity. Jonathan Gold­berg QC is a lead­ing London bar­ris­ter. Visit www.gold­bergqc.com

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