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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.

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Monday, 28 April 2014

TV Licensing Dodgy Search: Deposition Received

Last month we explained how j2LightWorker, whose property was wrongly searched by TV Licensing, was seeking a copy of the search warrant Deposition.

The Deposition, for the benefit of those unfamiliar with the process, is the sworn information TV Licensing presented to the court in their application for a search warrant. In our earlier post we explained some of the finer points of the search warrant application process, so we shan't repeat ourselves here. In order for TV Licensing to obtain a search warrant there are certain procedural and evidential hoops for them to jump through - at least that's the theory.

After multiple telephone calls, letters and the intervention of his MP, j2 has finally received a copy of the Deposition in question from Kirklees Magistrates' Court. It hasn't been an easy task and we admire j2's dogged determination in pursuing the issue.

Below is the complete text of the sworn statement the local Capita Court Presenter made to Magistrates on 6th June 2012. We apologise for the litany of grammatical errors, but the document is reproduced as is:

THE INFORMATION of [REDACTED], this being his deposition in support thereof, is taken on oath this 6th Day of June 2012 before me the undersigned, a Justice of the Peace for Kirklees Magistrates Court, on an application for a search warrant authorising any employee of Capita Business Service Ltd, authorised on this behalf by the British Broadcasting Corporation, with or without constables, to enter the premises at [REDACTED](herein referred to as “the Premises”) at any time within one month of the date of the warrant and to examine and test any television receiving equipment found there.

AND the said [REDACTED] upon his oath says:

1. I am employed by Capita Business Services Ltd and apply for a Warrant under Section 366(1) of the Communications Act 2003 to enter and search the Premises and to examine and test any television receiving equipment found therein and I produce a copy of the authority of the British Broadcasting Corporation.

2. On the 7th December 2011 at 17:52 hours, Fred Clay a TV Licensing Enquiry Officer visited the Premises. As the officer approached the premises he noted that 4 adults and 2 children could be seen inside. The officer knocked on the door and spoke to a female occupier who he described as being of a slim build, with long light brown hair and between 5'5" and 5'7" in height.

3. The officer asked to speak with a "Miss Broadhurst" who was the previous recorded licensee at the address; at this point a male occupier joined the female at the door and asked who the officer was. The officer identified himself and the male asked the officer to wait a minute, upon returning to the door the officer noticed that the male was holding a camera and asked the officer "do you mind if I film you?" The officer advised that he did mind and asked the male to turn the camera off, to which the male replied, "I'm in my rights to film you". The officer advised that he was also in his rights to ask the male not to film him.

4. The male then asked to see the officer identification again and took a close up of the officers ID. The officer again asked if the male lived at the premises and the male replied, "I don't need to answer". The officer advised the male that he would be applying for a search warrant and left the premises. The officer described the male as being about 6 foot tall and of a slim build with brown hair and about 30 years old. The officer also noted that a television set could be seen to be installed through the front room window.

5. On the 7th January 2012 at 13:35 hours, Mr Philip Oldcorn, a TV Licensing Enquiry Officer, visited the Premises. The officer knocked on the door and spoke to a male occupier. The officer asked the male if he lived at the premises and he said yes. The officer identified himself and the male asked him to wait a minute disappearing in to the premises. When the male returned to the door he was holding a mobile phone and started to film the officer. The officer asked the male not to film him and the male started shouting at the officer.

6. On the 24th February 2012 at 13:05 hours, Mr Paul Moores a TV Licensing Enforcement Officer visited the premises. As the officer approached the premises he noted that loud music could be heard coming from within the premises. The officer knocked on the door a couple of times but received no answer, as the officer was walking away from the premises the door was opened by a male occupier matching the description as on previous visits.

7. The officer asked the male if he was the occupier and he replied, "Am I obliged to answer that? Who are you?" The officer produced his identification and the male asked him to wait a minute. The male returned to the door with his mobile phone and said, "You don't mind if I film you, do you?" The officer smiled at the male and began to walk away from the premises. The male then said, "You come here showing your ID why does a video scare you off".

8. The officer noted upon leaving the premises that an old satellite dish was affixed to the gable end wall of the premises.

9. As the officer left the premises he noted that a television set could be heard in use. The officer described the male as being about 5'10" in height, of a slim build with brown hair and about thirty years old.

10. The visit was generated as a result of there being no licence recorded at this address. An unlicensed property will generate a suite of reminder letters, which will ultimately result in a visit request.

11. The occupiers were sent a letter on 27th March 2012 urging them to buy a licence and warning them that a search warrant would be applied for if they failed to do so. This letter was returned via Royal Mail on 26th April 2012 marked as 'refused' with the comments 'unwanted junkmail, no contract, no consent, not interested...'

12. At no time during the visits was there a record of a television licence in respect of the Premises. In the circumstances it is believed that television-receiving equipment is in use at the Premises. Television licensing records reveal no trace of a current television licence held by any person authorising the use of television receiving equipment at the Premises.

13. From the information I have been provided with, there are reasonable grounds for believing that an offence under section 363(1) and (2) of the Communications Act 2003, is being or has been committed at the Premises, that evidence of the commission of the offence is to be found at the Premises and that it is necessary to apply to the Court for a Warrant under section 366(1) of the Communications Act 2003 to search the Premises and test any television receiving equipment found there.

14. The request for a search warrant is a last resort. All other reasonable methods of obtaining evidence have been exhausted.

15. The issue of a warrant in these circumstances is a necessary and proportionate measure. Entry will not be granted unless a warrant is produced.

16. A warrant was previously applied for and granted on 26th April 2012 however, we were unable to execute the warrant. Sufficient manpower is now in place which will allow the execution of the warrant along with the required police assistance.

TAKEN and SWORN this 6th Day of June 2012

Before me the undersigned

A Justice of the Peace for Kirklees Magistrates Court.

We are in the fortunate position of being able to compare the evidence above directly against video footage of the goon visits. Having quickly done that we can already spot a few potential discrepancies, which will no doubt make an interesting point of future discussion.

Stay tuned for further updates, as there's more to come on this particular story.

TV Licensing Blog Mention in Dispatches: Awarded to student consumer crusader Harry Barnes, who recently wrote an article all about TV Licensing Fleecing Students.


Anonymous said...

You will have noticed in paragraph 4 a reference to a TV set ("The officer also noted that a television set could be seen to be installed"). In paragraph 6 there is a reference to music ("... he noted that loud music could be heard coming from within the premises") and in paragraph 9 another reference to a TV set (... "a television set could be heard in use").

Yet in paragraph 13 the request is for a warrant, not for a TV set nor "loud music", but "... to search the Premises and test any television receiving equipment found there".

You know and I know that a TV set is not necessarily a TV receiver. Anyone can install and use a TV set for purposes other than watching/recording live television programme service, even using it to play "loud music", without needing a TV licence.

Thus the grounds for applying for the warrant are without foundation. There is no evidence of TV programme service being received, and this is what turns ANY electronic gubbins into a TV receiver. References to "TV set", "loud music" and "old satellite dish" are red herrings which obviously fooled the tame magistrate. This was proved when the subsequent search turned out to be fruitless.

The only redeeming feature here is that once more Capita is left with egg on its corporate face. With this standard of "evidence" it deserves all the publicity it is going to get.

Lastly, I note the complete absence of "detection equipment", whether hand-held or van-borne. After the publicity following the Christophorou fiasco I'm not surprised.

Anonymous said...

In a nutshell, that whole deposition was granted because some Goon t### said he -

"9. As the officer left the premises he noted that a television set could be heard in use."

Note the word HEARD. Not SEEN or WITNESSED.

How does the Goon t### know that if there WAS a TV in use, it wasn't due to watching catch up? Or a DVD......or even the radio via a TV?

Basically, Crapita/TVL/BBC are saying that simply HEARING something that COULD be a TV is grounds for a search warrant. Effing scum!

If I were the occupier, I would dedicate my remaining years to sueing the utter arse off TVL/Crapita for what they have done. Then I'd go after the idiot from the court that signed it off. Then I'd go after the Chief Inspector under his/her vicarious liabilities.


NB: Mercury Tax Group Ltd v HMRC [2008] EWHC 2721. Mr Justice Underhill: “The authorities repeatedly emphasise that the approval of a judge to the issue of search warrants - which unless properly justified represent a gross intrusion on civil liberties - cannot be a rubber stamp: it is his duty to subject the information put before him to jealous scrutiny”

philbestwick said...

The law is absolutely clear on this subject. There is NO authority for administrative courts in this country and no Act can be passed to legitimise them because of the constitutional restraints placed upon her Majesty at Her coronation. The collection of revenue by such means is extortion, and extortion has been found reprehensible since ancient times. Separation of powers Today, in the year 2011, we find for example, that in the council tax regulations, the billing authority, the prosecuting authority and the enforcement authority are all vested in the same body. The same bodies even purport to issue their own legal documents, by tacit agreement with the Courts.

Anonymous said...

This is disgusting. I've made a complain to the magistrates court about this... letter here: http://imgur.com/qgCczBm

Will let you know the outcome.

Admin said...

Thanks for your comment Anon, but I think you'd be better directing your letter to Kirklees Magistrates' Court (Huddersfield).

Anonymous said...

I offer the following point by point observations ...

(2) '4 adults and 2 children could be seen inside'.
How? If this was done through leaving the most direct route from entrance to door, then this is an admission of trespass.

(4) 'TV set seen to be installed'.
This is a statement as to fact. Put to proof: prove that it was actually installed. In detail. How? No access gained.

(6) 'Loud music heard'
What is this evidence of exactly? Answer: Nothing.

(8) 'OLD satellite dish affixed to premises'.
Mere possession is evidence of nothing (there are thousands of old aerials and dishes attached to buildings across the UK). Goon admits it to be OLD.

(9) 'TV set heard in use'.
Again, prove it was a TV. No corroborative evidence whatsoever.

(11) Letter saying 'buy licence or search warrant'.
This would be extortion in Scotland, possibly blackmail in England. Possible indicator by TVL of intent to act unlawfully.
I also note the reference to the previous SW. Get the deposition for this, too.

Given the high level of goon visits and multiple SW's, I would say that the householder is well on the way to a case for harassment.

In any event, the SW should never have been granted. This magistrate should be pursued for Misconduct in Public Office.

admin said...

Thanks for your comment Anon.

I can shed some light on the "4 adults, 2 children" observation. Goon Fred Clay said he noticed them in the early evening in December 2011, so one can assume that he looked through the well lit front room window from the darkness outside. TV Licensing goons are well trained at perving through windows whenever the opportunity presents itself.

As for your other comments, I totally agree. There is no evidence whatsoever to suggest unlicensed TV reception other than the goon's uncorroborated word.

Video footage of goon Paul Moore's visit on 24th Feb 2012, when he claims to have heard a TV set as he walked away from the property, does nothing to support his statement. You can clearly hear the occupier unlatch the door, but there is nothing at all in the background that resembles a TV set.

Listen for yourself: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7O2o7G3HAHQ

Anonymous said...

"officer" huh?

Anonymous said...

The main emphasis of the deposition seems to be that TVL objected to its goons being videoed. They objected to the recording of a potential interview under caution.

December 2011, a goon turns up, and threatens a search warrant. A month later a second goon turns up, and complains about being filmed, this after the first goon has threatened the occupier.

Is it any surprise if the occupier did shout at the goon, the behaviour of TVL was already harassment. However it seems that this is a lie, the occupier did not shout at the goon.

Six weeks later a third goon turned up. and left it seems just because the occupier was lawfully filming him.

There is no evidence anywhere in this deposition that the occupier refused entry, in fact on the third visit, the goon did not try to engage the occupier in conversation, just left because he was being filmed.

Refusing to answer questions, and goons being camera shy is not a valid reason for a search warrant.