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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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Wednesday, 26 November 2014

TV Licensing: Attending Court on TV Licence Evasion Charges

Anyone summoned to court on TV licence evasion charges should make every effort to attend the hearing in person, as it the only opportunity to make their voice heard.

Over the years we have become accustomed, although not immune, to the nauseating repetitiveness of TV licence evasion cases heard at the Magistrates' Court. These courts work at a blistering pace, disposing of literally dozens of cases every hour. 

The Magistrates' Courts are only able to do that because the overwhelming majority of defendants fail to respond to the summons, fail to attend on the day or simply plead guilty - regardless of whether they actually are - because they see it as the easiest option.

It is no exaggeration to say that well over ninety percent of TV licence evasion cases are dealt with in the absence of the defendant. The defendant, for whatever reason, has either failed to respond to the summons or failed to appear in person as they said they would. In either of these cases the Magistrates will only be presented with TV Licensing's version of events, whether or not that bears any resemblance to reality. 

Faced with only prosecution evidence the Magistrates have no option but to find the non-attending defendant guilty by default. The court would base its decision entirely on the unchallenged word of the Capita Court Presenter. There would be no need to consider primary evidence, like the completed TVL178 Record of Interview form.

We would encourage all defendants to attend court. By appearing in person the defendant will at least have the opportunity to make their voice heard. Even if they're only attending to plead guilty, then at least they can still explain their personal circumstances and highlight any mitigating factors

The presence of the defendant means the court will give the case more consideration than it would in their absence. Experience shows that the courts look favourably on defendants pleading guilty from the outset (e.g. when responding the summons), who then appear in person to face their responsibilities.

Whenever possible we encourage a defendant to plead not guilty, thereby forcing TV Licensing to prove its case. As discussed earlier, an uncontested case will invariably go in TV Licensing's favour.

It is only by challenging TV Licensing's evidence or procedures that the defendant has any chance of winning their case. In some circumstances TV Licensing will be so concerned at the prospect of its evidence being tested, that it will actually withdraw the charges before the trial date.

It's time to take the fight to TV Licensing. Stand up, make your voice heard and let the court listen.

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stephen thorpe said...

Yes always attend the court hearing. It will more than likely be a court miles away from where one lives. I believe they do this in the hope one won't attend. Well call their bluff and turn up. As the blog says they will more than likely drop the case. Tough titty claim costs against them, make them prove you are guilty, show them up every step of the way.

Maryon Jeane said...

TV Licensing informed me, after visiting my house (and finding no evidence of television watching) that it would be taking me to court because evidence of "a television being installed" (yes, I had a television - but it had to be wheeled out from its position under some open-plan stairs into another room before it could even be plugged in, and there was nothing but a blizzard to be seen when it was turned on). I wrote back to say that they were welcome to take me to court as long as they gave me due warning of the time and date so that I could appear to refute the charges. There was a long silence, followed by a standard threatening letter - beginning the series of threatograms once again.

Anonymous said...

(1) Be aware that a suspiciously large number of Summonses never actually appear. The first thing the victim knows is when they find their name in the local paper, or a bailiff appears demanding money for an unpaid fine. If this happens, go the Statutory Declaration route.

(2) Even if pleading guilty, appear in court. This clogs the system and causes them great inconvenience.