Chairman Pip's Railway Thoughts

What did I say about messing with the Big Man?

Posted in Customer service, Great Britain, Media, Other general stuff about railways by Chairman Pip on 22 December 2011

So the “Big Man” has been charged with assault after all. British Transport Police confirmed that Alan Pollock had been charged, and the case referred to the Procurator Fiscal. However, Sam Main has also been reported to the Procurator under a section of Scottish criminal law that covers trespass and threatening or abusive behaviour, although he has yet to be formally charged. I had a conversation with a friend of mine about this incident a few days ago and, while we agreed that the onus should have been on the conductor to remove chappie from the train, he was of the opinion that the Big Man was somewhat over the top, while I saw a degree of justification. It also makes one wonder about the power that Web 2.0 has over public opinion – would the Big Man have faced a charge had he not been videoed, and the video uploaded onto Youtube? I liked a tweet in relation to this from Wolmar yesterday which summed up perfectly what would end up happening:

Is it really assault to help a train conductor throw off a fare dodger from a train? Surely this just gives ammunition to the Daily Mail?

Clearly both Wolmar and myself were way behind the times on this, if this story from the Daily Mail on the 17th December is anything to go by:

“Revealed, the hounding of a first-class hero: Why the banker who threw a foul-mouthed student off a train could end up in court”

As for the fare dodger, ignorance is no excuse. He may claim that he had mistakenly been given the wrong ticket – something I find highly unlikely, given the way ticket purchasing systems are set up; also, I would have thought most people check their tickets when they buy them, or am I wrong? – but since when has ignorance been an excuse? Rather than being a belligerant twat, he should have handed over the money for a new ticket but explained his situation calmly, to which the conductor would probably have said “do this, this and this, and you can probably get a refund”. Whatever happens, we probably haven’t heard the last of this one.

“Train eviction ‘Big Man’ charged with assault”
“‘Big Man’ who threw alleged fare dodger off train in hit internet video is CHARGED with assault”
“Student thrown off train by ‘Big Man’ You Tube hero ‘tried to trip up conductor'”

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