The British Transport Police has announced that Marie Dinou was charged under the incorrect section of the Coronavirus Act 2020.
The BTP has now agreed to contact North Tyneside Magistrates Court to ask for the case to be relisted and the conviction to be set aside.
Having reassessed the matter, BTP will not pursue any alternative prosecution.
BTP and the CPS will now undertake a more detailed review of the case to ensure that any lessons to be learned are integrated into the shared justice processes.
What did the officials say?
Deputy Chief Constable Adrian Hanstock said
“There will be understandable concern that our interpretation of this new legislation has resulted in an ineffective prosecution.
“This was in circumstances where officers were properly dealing with someone who was behaving suspiciously in the station, and who staff believed to be travelling without a valid ticket. Officers were rightfully challenging her unnecessary travel.
“Regardless, we fully accept that this shouldn’t have happened and we apologise. It is highly unusual that a case can pass through a number of controls in the criminal justice process and fail in this way.
“We have shared the latest version of guidance from the National Police Chiefs’ Council this morning with all of our frontline officers to help them interpret the new legislation.
“I must remind the public that officers will continue to engage with people and seek to understand their reasons for their journeys. Where we determine that there is no justifiable purpose for them being on the transport network, we will explain to the public why they should not travel.
“As a last resort, and where situations develop, we may need to apply the law as set out in the new Coronavirus Act and the Health Protection Regulations.”
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