Recent Government proposals have been subject to criticism from legal professionals. The Government suggested a digital system allowing an individual to plead guilty online and accept a pre-determined penalty including any appropriate award for compensation and costs. This would allow the sentence to be immediately accepted and payment to be made.
It is suggested within the proposals that the new system would promote efficiency in giving a proportionate resolution to low level offences such as railway fare evasion, tram fare evasion and possession of an unlicensed fishing rod and line. It would undoubtedly make the process easier but not necessarily better.
Any criticism to be levied at such a system should not be borne out of technophobia or the desire to frustrate proceedings but rather out of a concern that dealing with these low level cases in such a manner would risk an accused person not realising the importance of their guilty plea.
More About The Penalties Involved in Fare Evasion
People engaging in this system may well be misguided into believing that this process is likened to a fixed penalty notice, which is not the case. If a guilty plea is entered online through this procedure, the individual will stand convicted of an offence and this may well have repercussions beyond the criminal system. It may be for example that a person’s employment could be affected or their ability to carry out charitable work for certain organisations, as they would have a conviction.
Most concerning of all however, is that people engaging in the system may fail to appreciate the potential defences that they may have or opportunities to divert away from prosecution altogether.
How Burton Copeland Can Help You
At Burton Copeland Solicitors, we have represented many similar cases and it is not uncommon to be able to reach agreement with rail companies or local councils without the need of a prosecution before the courts.
We as solicitors appreciate and strive towards the achievement of swift justice but we would suggest that these proposals will fall short of justice in a large number of cases.