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This blog is to highlight the unjust persecution of legitimate non-TV users at the hands of TV Licensing. These people do not require a licence and are entitled to live without the unnecessary stress and inconvenience caused by TV Licensing's correspondence and employees.

If you use equipment to receive live broadcast TV programmes, or to watch or download on-demand programmes via the BBC iPlayer, then the law requires you to have a licence and we encourage you to buy one.

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Saturday, 18 August 2012

TV Licensing Threats and Intimidation: The Reality

Our distinguished colleague TJoKayaking, not his real name, went undercover earlier this month to observe TV Licensing's proceedings in court.

He chose Burton-on-Trent Magistrates Court, which was hearing a string of TV licence cases on 6th August. Court is like a "sausage factory" to TV Licensing. They'll book an afternoon of court time and throw literally dozens of cases at the Magistrates for what is tantamount to a rubber-stamping exercise. TV Licensing know this, so they sometimes throw in dubious cases in the hope they'll evade the Magistrates' bullshit detector as they dispense justice on autopilot.

TJoK diligently noted the outcome of the 24 cases he heard that afternoon. No-one received a fine anywhere near the £1000 figure often bandied about by TV Licensing. In fact we don't know of anyone at all who has ever received the maximum fine.

Notice as well that most of the people TV Licensing prosecute are invariably female and financially disadvantaged. That's a trend replicated in court rooms across the land.

TJoK's observations:

1. An African female, who had only been in the UK 3 months, had only owned a TV for 3 weeks and was unaware of the need for a TV licence. She had very poor English language skills, so much so that her 8 year old son had to act as interpreter when TV Licensing visited. She offered to pay there and then, but the salesman told her to start paying by PayPoint instead. She has made regular payments ever since despite being in receipt of Job Seeker's Allowance. The case was delayed because she recently moved house, which meant the summons was wrongly delivered to her old address.
Outcome: 12 month conditional discharge + £60 costs.

2. A male who was unable to attend court.
Outcome: Case adjourned.

3. A female who had failed to respond to summons. She had been unlicensed for more than 6 months.
Outcome: £200 fine, £75 costs + £15 victim surcharge.

4. A female. TV Licensing asked for this case to be withdrawn, which the Magistrates agree to.
Outcome: Case withdrawn.

5. A female who had failed to respond to summons. TV Licensing asked for this case to be withdrawn, which the Magistrates agree to.
Outcome: Case withdrawn.

6. A male who had failed to respond to summons. He had been unlicensed for more than 6 months.
Outcome: £200 fine, £75 costs + £15 victim surcharge.

7. A female. TV Licensing asked for this case to be withdrawn, which the Magistrates agree to.
Outcome: Case withdrawn.

8. A female who had failed to respond to summons. She had been unlicensed for more than 6 months.
Outcome: £200 fine, £75 costs + £15 victim surcharge.

9. A male. TV Licensing asked for this case to be withdrawn, which the Magistrates agree to.
Outcome: Case withdrawn.

10. A female who had failed to respond to summons. She had been unlicensed for more than 6 months.
Outcome: £200 fine, £60 costs + £15 victim surcharge.

11. A male who pleaded guilty by post. TV Licensing asked for this case to be withdrawn, which the Magistrates agree to.
Outcome: Case withdrawn.

12. A male who was summonsed only a week earlier. Magistrates decide to adjourn the case as it was brought too quickly.
Outcome: Case adjourned.

13. A female who pleaded guilty by post. She was in receipt of benefits and had a previous conviction for licence fee evasion.
Outcome:  £55 fine, £60 costs + £15 victim surcharge.

14.  A female who pleaded guilty by post. She was in receipt of benefits.
Outcome:  £50 fine, £60 costs + £15 victim surcharge.

15. A male who pleaded guilty by post. He had learning difficulties, was in receipt of benefits and didn't really understand what a TV licence was for (join the club).
Outcome:  £35 fine, £60 costs + £15 victim surcharge.

16. A female who pleaded guilty by post. A change of bank details meant she missed payment for her TV licence. She apologised to the court for her clerical oversight.
Outcome:  £35 fine, £60 costs + £15 victim surcharge.

17.  A female who pleaded guilty by post. She can't afford a TV licence, but bought a TV set on the spur of the moment at a car boot sale. Summonsed to court only 5 days earlier on 1st August, but the Magistrates allow the case to proceed.
Outcome:  £20 fine, £60 costs + £15 victim surcharge.

18. A female who pleaded guilty by post. She was in receipt of benefits and had been unlicensed for more than 6 months. In mitigation she told the court she was waiting for a new TV Licensing payment card and the TV Licensing salesman that nabbed her said that was okay.
Outcome:  £75 fine, £60 costs + £15 victim surcharge.

19. A female who pleaded guilty by post. She had been unlicensed for less than 6 months. She was in receipt of benefits and had a previous conviction for licence fee evasion. She told the court: "If I buy a tv licence I can't afford to live which I why I keep getting caught".
Outcome:  £80 fine, £60 costs + £15 victim surcharge.

20. A male who pleaded guilty by post. He was in receipt of benefits and had been unlicensed for 9 months.
Outcome:  £35 fine, £60 costs + £15 victim surcharge.

21. A female who pleaded guilty by post. She was in receipt of benefits and had been unlicensed for less than 6 months. In mitigation she told the court she had a young daughter and no local family so felt isolated.
Outcome:  £35 fine, £60 costs + £15 victim surcharge.

22. A female who pleaded guilty by post. She was in receipt of benefits and had been unlicensed for less than 6 months. In mitigation she told the court money was very tight because her partner was being pursued by the Child Support Agency.
Outcome:  £35 fine, £60 costs + £15 victim surcharge.

23. A male who pleaded guilty by post. He had been unlicensed for less than 6 months. In mitigation he told the court he'd forgotten to pay because of a family bereavement. When challenged by TV Licensing he offered to pay immediately and has since kept up with the payments.
Outcome:  £35 fine, £60 costs + £15 victim surcharge.

24. A male who pleaded guilty by post. He had been unlicensed for less than 9 months. He is disabled because of neck and back problems and is living on benefits. He apologised to the court and explained that he was finding life very difficult at the moment.
Outcome:  £35 fine, £60 costs + £15 victim surcharge.

7 comments:

TJoK said...

The reason I went was to tally up the newspaper articles to what actually happens in the courts.

I was disgusted at what I saw.

The tv licensing prosecutor showed no compassion whatsoever towards the first lady in front of the beak, it was as if he was on a mission to secure a prosecution no matter what her mitigating circumstances were and believe me, when you see someone tell the truth you know 100% they are telling the truth. Thankfully she was virtually let off.

This court attendance and others now being carried out by real reporters will go some way towards reporting the true facts and not those printed in your local rag newspapers. Ask yourself why the newspapers only report the maximum fines dished out by the magistrates court. Maybe they consider tvl prosecutions to be news? I don't. I call it intimidation by the press, spoonfed by The BBC. After all, fully responsibility for this lies with the BBC.

paul davis said...

dont admit it why plead guilty let them get the evidence which i very much doubt they can well done tjok how did you know they were at court that day i might try this down where i live and post it on utube peace mate

admin said...

Hi Paul,

I can help you a little bit: He knew TV Licensing were in court because he rang the court beforehand to ask when they they were next in town.

I'm thinking of doing it myself actually. Going to court, getting a load of notes to discredit their "newspaper articles", and heckling their scummy lawyers outside.

Actually that sounds like quite good fun!

Anonymous said...

I have recieved a summons for not having a tv liscence because the partner lied to me saying we had one. Unfortunatly we didn't do I set up payments to pay it off now the summons has come through from feb2013 shall I ignore it or fill it in??

Anonymous said...

I would definitely fill it out. Don't post it, take it with you to your court hearing. Go a bit early as they give you the chance to speak to the TV licence people before hand. I had my case today, I was so scared and wasn't sure if I should please guilty or not guilty as I had moved out the property five days after the tvl guy come knocking at my door. I explained this to the TV licence guy who was there this morning before we went in for the hearing but he said you was at the property when he come so you are liable for paying and will be fined with a criminal record too. But once they called me in and the court guy said to TV licence to begin the trial he just simply said I'd like to withdraw the case. I was so happy and relieved.

Anonymous said...

'Victim surcharge' what a load of rubbish. Just current government falling over themselves to grab cash.

Unknown said...

I only missed a few payment's my sister had just passed away and just got abit behind which I explained but the man who came round said he was denied access and was not allowed to see the t.v which was lies as ilet him in and he could see t.v through open door way I also explained that as I didn't understand why he would lie but they ignored all that and fined me 190.00 and I'm on benefits due to poor health,please what does victim surcharge mean thankyou Tracey.