[an error occurred while processing this directive]
BBC News
watch One-Minute World News
Last Updated: Tuesday, 4 September 2007, 11:45 GMT 12:45 UK
Feet-on-seat teenager discharged
Kathleen Jennings (Pic: MEN Syndication)
Kathleen Jennings admitted putting her feet on the seats
A student has been found guilty of putting her feet on a train seat but given an absolute discharge at Chester Magistrates' Court.

Kathleen Jennings, 19, a maths student at the University of Manchester, was travelling on a Merseyrail service from Capenhurst to Manchester on 6 June.

The train operator has a "zero tolerance" policy to passengers putting their feet on seats.

The court said a fixed penalty system would be a more appropriate punishment.

'Common sense'

Chairman of the Bench, Christine Abrams, said: "The bench is united in feeling while this may have been contrary to a by-law, Merseyrail should have a less draconian method for dealing with matters of this nature."

Mrs Abrams gave Miss Jennings an absolute discharge, meaning she will not be punished but her criminal offence will be recorded. There were no costs awarded.

Speaking outside court, Miss Jennings said: "Putting my feet on the seat, which I am sure everyone has done in the past, with the cost of it all, probably cost a lot of money.

"I'm quite happy they have got common sense, seeing as I work with children and CRB (Criminal Records Bureau) checks... I thought this would come up."

Earlier, Kevin Jones, representing Merseyrail, told the court that, as a train inspector approached Miss Jennings, she took her feet off the seat.

'Wilful interference'

He admitted there was no verbal warning but said a notice in front of her warned passengers of a 100 penalty for resting their feet on seats.

The charge read out in court, to which Miss Jennings pleaded guilty, stated: "You did molest or wilfully interfere with the comfort or convenience of any person on the railway by putting your feet on the seats while on a rail journey to Chester."

Merseyrail is the only train operator in the country to prosecute for the offence.

Around 250 train passengers have been prosecuted by the company since it began enforcement in February.


VIDEO AND AUDIO NEWS
Kathleen Jennings talks about the case



RELATED INTERNET LINKS
The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites



FEATURES, VIEWS, ANALYSIS
Has China's housing bubble burst?
How the world's oldest clove tree defied an empire
Why Royal Ballet principal Sergei Polunin quit

PRODUCTS & SERVICES

Americas Africa Europe Middle East South Asia Asia Pacific