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Mersey Rail "Reprimand" for Feet on Seat

PostPosted: Fri Dec 24, 2010 4:13 pm
by kingthing
Hi guys! First of all - a very Merry Christmas to you all! I hope it brings you lots of joy and happiness, and ditto for the year fast approaching us!

In October i got a train to Liverpool from Chester, my hometown. First time i'd travelled on a Mersey Rail train for what must be around 4 years, and it seems in that time things have got quite militant! I'm 6ft 4, so as with most public transport i need to shuffle my legs around to get comfortable - usually starting with just crossing them. Travelling on a relatively empty carriage i was doing just that whilst reading a paper, and during my obvious engrossment in what i was reading, i sub-consciously (presumably!) opted to rest one of my feet on the frame of the seat infront of me. About ten minutes later, i was tapped on the shoulder and asked to show my ticket, which i did. I was then asked whether i was aware that it was an offence to put my foot on the seat, and would i mind taking it off, and again, i duly complied. The gentleman then informed me that he was a "Mersey Rail Security Enforcement Officer" and proceeded to read me my rights - and literally, my full rights, ("you have the right to remain silent") etc! He made me aware that i was liable for further prosecution and, after taking my details and then writing a full description of me, he informed me i would receive a letter informing me of the "next step".

Well, its Christmas Eve, and as if they knew exactly what i wanted for Christmas this year, i get a letter from Mersey Rail informing me that i have been reprimanded and need to pay an "administrative penalty of £50". They want me to pay this penalty "no later that two weeks" <--- thats exactly how it says it on the letter, plus its in bold. No later "that" two weeks. Now, myself not being fluent in whatever that wording is, i was wondering if the good people of this forum could help me out here - do i need to pay this, or can i fight it? I was considering sending them a very civil letter back, explaining how i took my foot down from the frame straight away and apologised, and that whilst i appreciate their kind offer of payment, i was going to have to politely decline. I was also going to add that any further correspondence received from them would be billed by me at £100 per A4 sheet, as an "administrive cost", and that by replying to this letter they would be agreeing to that contract. Can I do this, or something similar, or am i barking up the wrong tree?

It is also worth nothing that the administrive penalty is requested to be paid "no later that two weeks" from the date of the letter, and with the letter being dated 15/12/2010, and it today being the 24/12/10, that doesnt leave me muuch time at all to get anything in order. I also have to sign a seperate sheet which means i would be accpeting the reprimand, on which it says in bold "If you do not fully admit the offence, you should not accept the reprimand. If that is the case, you will be charged/summonsed with the offence". Obviously i'm not denying the offence, so can i can i just sign this and send it back with a token gesture fee of say, £5, for their "administrative costs"?? Or by admitting the offence am i also accepting the fine? Like i said, i'm not denying the "offense", there's just no way in hell i'm paying anybody £50, especially over christmas! Coupled with the fact that i was apologetic, the officer was quite intimidating, i dont look remotely like a thug or a chav, there's a bolded typo on the letter requesting me to pay, i've never been in any trouble with the law before whatsoever - do i have a case here or should i just bend over and accept it?

The actual offense is thus - "On 21/10/2010 on the Merseyrail network being a passenger on a train being used for the carriage of passengers did interfere with the comfort or convenience of any person on the railway by putting your feet on the seats of the train. Byelaw 6(8) of the Merseyrail Electrics 2002 Limited Byelaws" - thats it word for word, grammar fro grammar - which no matter how many times i read it, seems very poorly written. I admit to having my foot on a seat or whatever but im not so sure i accept that i was interefering with the "comfort or convenience of any person on the railway" as there was barely anybody else on the train for a start.

It also says at the bottom of the first sheet, in bold - "Merseyrail operates a zero tolerance policy in regard to these matters and at this stage there is no redress to these proceedings. If you do not accept the reprimand and the administrative penalty, then the matter will be referred to the Magistrates Court and a summons will be issued in due course" - an dbelow that it states "If you are found guilty by the Magistrates you will be liable for any Fine, Costs, and Compensation set against you."

So yes, all of your help would be most welcome here! And again, Merry Christmas!

Re: Mersey Rail "Reprimand" for Feet on Seat

PostPosted: Fri Dec 24, 2010 5:13 pm
by Farmer
If you didn't take your shoe off, pay the £50.

Re: Mersey Rail "Reprimand" for Feet on Seat

PostPosted: Fri Dec 24, 2010 5:45 pm
by Prajna
Depends if you are up for the effort and hassle to challenge it. Personally I would ignore it. But then, so far as I am aware, nobody has ever been prosecuted for a bylaw. The nuclear sites I have protested at are drowned in bylaws, restricting almost everything, but for some reason that we haven't been able to figure out, M.O.D have never prosecuted anyone for contravention of bylaws. I do have a fuzzy memory that they did once a long time ago and it all went wrong for them. There is a risk that they may try in your case, and maybe it is common practice in railways, I don't know. In any case, you need to decide for yourself whether you are ready to lose your virginity as a freeman over this issue - whether you are going to move from theory to practice over this. I hope you decided to, since I a) doubt they will carry it through and b) doubt they stand a chance if they do.

Namaste,
Prajna

Re: Mersey Rail "Reprimand" for Feet on Seat

PostPosted: Fri Dec 24, 2010 5:55 pm
by kingthing
Thanks for the swift reply guys - i think i am going to fight it yes, surely the fact that it says to be paid no later "that" two weeks...etc would give me a decent starting point, as that is a sentence that doesnt even make sense..?! I hear what you are saying about bylaws but a quick google brought up a few cases where merseyrail have taken someone to court over this and won, but i dont know the ins and outs of it unfortunately.

@ Farmer if by "shoe" you mean my foot, then yes i did take it off as soon as i was asked to, and as i said earlier, very apologetically too! I did it with no fuss, and without altercation, but i was still read my rights, which i actually found quite degrading and intimidating. I was also told that i was receiving a caution and that i would receive a letter that would tell me to ring a number and then be told the "next steps" - i have no such choice in the letter i received, simply a demand for payment!

Re: Mersey Rail "Reprimand" for Feet on Seat

PostPosted: Fri Dec 24, 2010 8:13 pm
by Farmer
kingthing wrote:@ Farmer if by "shoe" you mean my foot, then yes i did take it off as soon as i was asked


No, I meant your shoe or boot. Putting your dirty shoe or boot on the seat may damage the seat, which by the way does not belong to you, so you are breaking common law; that's right, you are doing harm to others. You may also then have someone come along and sit in that seat and have their clothing damaged. If you didn't first take your shoe or boot off, you did harm, so pay the £50.

Re: Mersey Rail "Reprimand" for Feet on Seat

PostPosted: Fri Dec 24, 2010 8:59 pm
by holy vehm
Wether you do or dont decide to pay let this be a lesson in keeping silent. You were told you have the 'right to remain silent' but, do you have the capacity?
Next time you are told you have the right to remain silent, do so. Dont engage with any 'person'. Giving your name and address only creates joinder, a contract.
If you cant be arsed with the hassle, lie, for the 'person' asking you questions will undoubtly lie if it suits their needs.
There is cctv on most trains but i doubt if they work most of the time, if they dont, then its his word against yours.
Only be honourable with like minded souls not 'persons' acting with deciet.

:peace:

Re: Mersey Rail "Reprimand" for Feet on Seat

PostPosted: Fri Dec 24, 2010 9:20 pm
by greg
Quite right HV. Mate if this guy wants to fine you, then why the hell are you helping him by giving him your name and address? Like HV said, you had the right to remain silent, why not exercise that right?

As for what to do, I would seal that letter back up and have a word with your friendly postman, get a sticker from him saying that you refuse to accept delivery and give him the letter to send back to the sender. You're well within your rights to refuse delivery. I used to work for RM so I know this to be true, they also state this on their website:

http://www.royalmail.com/portal/rm/content1?catId=7500151&mediaId=2600041

Letters are considered delivered if they are posted and not returned, just return it and it aint delivered!

Best of luck

Greg

Re: Mersey Rail "Reprimand" for Feet on Seat

PostPosted: Fri Dec 24, 2010 9:28 pm
by holy vehm
greg wrote:Quite right HV. Mate if this guy wants to fine you, then why the hell are you helping him by giving him your name and address? Like HV said, you had the right to remain silent, why not exercise that right?

As for what to do, I would seal that letter back up and have a word with your friendly postman, get a sticker from him saying that you refuse to accept delivery and give him the letter to send back to the sender. You're well within your rights to refuse delivery. I used to work for RM so I know this to be true, they also state this on their website:

http://www.royalmail.com/portal/rm/content1?catId=7500151&mediaId=2600041

Letters are considered delivered if they are posted and not returned, just return it and it aint delivered!

Best of luck

Greg



Excellent info greg, i wasnt aware of that. Everyday's a school day eh!