Why we're here:
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.

If you've just arrived here from a search engine, then you might find our Quick Guide helpful.

Wednesday, 7 January 2015

TV Licensing Malicious Prosecution Victim Speaks Live on Russia Today

Michael Shakespeare, who was wrongly convicted of TV licence evasion, has spoken live about his experiences on Russia Today.

His story almost defies belief. Briefly, for the benefit of anyone unfamiliar with the case, he decided to invite TV Licensing into his home to prove that he didn't legally require a TV licence. The goon that visited, Ian Doyle, was quite satisfied that there was no evidence of unlicensed TV reception at the property. TV Licensing, who don't like outspoken opponents like Michael, decided to go ahead and prosecute him anyway.

You'll have to read our earlier post to see the extraordinary lengths TV Licensing went to in order to wrongly criminalise a completely innocent man.

Thankfully the Crown Court saw through the farce of Michael's Magistrates' Court trial and his conviction was overturned.

Below is a full transcript of Michael's interview with Russia Today presenter Bill Dod. It was broadcast live at 7.15 pm on 6th January 2015.
Bill Dod (BD): Michael, good to see you. Just tell us briefly about your story. You were arrested, but you didn't actually have a TV. There's something quite sinister that happened?

Michael Shakespeare (MS): The law requires you to have a licence if you watch live broadcasts. If you watch catch-up programmes or pre-recorded programes on, for example, a computer or monitor, you don't require a licence.

BD: And you made it very clear to the authorities that you had no (need for a) licence and interestingly enough they came to visit your property.

MS: I invited them to come, because the regime they operate is so - well some people would say, and I agree - is so oppressive and so aggressive that they keep writing to you, even though you say "look, I don't need your product". I actually invited them around.

BD: They came around and there was no indication at all that you had live television?

MS: The inspector (Doyle) spent half an hour examining the equipment that I had and interestingly enough he said at the time, because I captured it all on film, that he was quite satisfied that I wasn't breaking the law. He went away and 5 months later I was summoned to court.

BD: Why?

MS: It's strange. The prosecution (TV Licensing) produced a piece of evidence from my actual film, or a copy of it, that had an image showing on the TV.

BD: And it was an image of what? A live broadcast?

MS: Well they claimed it was. It was a still image.

BD: Right, so basically you were set up and then you were then taken to court because they accused you of having a TV. Just very briefly, why do you think they corrupted the image and pretended that you had a live TV in your room when you didn't? Just very briefly.

MS: Well obviously I can't say that they corrupted the image. They downloaded the film - the clip that they used - they downloaded it from an unspecified source. An unverified source.

BD: Anyway, you did clear your name. The fact is, don't you think it is right though that people should be brought to account if they do not pay their TV licence?

MS: Personally, no.

BD: Why not?

MS: Because it's a bad law. It's unfair, it's anachronistic.

BD: How else should you get programmes funded? For example, free programmes, as it were, from the BBC. Open access. How else should it be done?

MS: Subscription. That's one model that's been put forward.

BD: But we have a public service broadcaster, which should obviously be supported by the public?

MS: But Channel 4 is a public service broadcaster. They have a public service remit as well.

BD: But what about the fact that people going on holiday - it's not just TV licence fees, but council taxes as well - if you haven't paid up do you think it's right that border control police can actually apprehend you?

MS: I don't actually, no.

BD: Why not? You're breaking the law.

MS: Because they make mistakes. People make mistakes. You're saying that the state should restrict people's freedom of travel on the basis that they say you've not paid your fees.

BD: So just very briefly, if you don't have a TV licence or, as I say, do have a TV at home in the future, would you actually refuse to pay the licence fee? Just briefly.

MS: Yes, I would personally.

BD: And you would be prepared to go to jail for this?

MS: I would be personally, yes.

BD: Michael , thanks very much indeed for joining us. Michael Shakespeare live here on RT UK. Thanks for watching us.
We think Michael did very well to keep his opinions to himself on the subject of who actually doctored the dodgy video footage. We're in little doubt and it doesn't sound like the presenter is either! 

As RT has now aired TV Licensing's dirty laundry in public, it would be nice if the national press now followed suit and gave Michael's story the prominence it deserves.

If you've found this article useful please consider liking us on Facebook, following us on Twitter or downloading our free ebook.


M.Shakey said...

Hi there. I actually went to the studio to discuss the proposals regarding stopping people travelling if they did not buy a BBC TV Licence. The team was unaware of my story (AFAIK) until around a half hour before I arrived at the studio.I was supposed to be in a debate with the 'retired' Copper who supported the travel restrictions. IMHO the team was so shocked at the BBC's dirty tricks Dept that they pulled me out of the debate and did a separate piece. FULL MARKS to RT for having the BALLS to broach this subject.It it a matter of LOGIC that if 2 different versions of the same film clip are compared and the content is DIFFERENT then 1 MUST be 'fabricated'.. or 'tampered with' as I stated from the day I received the summons. Dod asked me the reason why the BBC would 'corrupt' the evidence... Hmm difficult.... how about £3.8 BILLION reasons..

Anonymous said...

Pity they didn't still have you on the original debate.

Chris said...

Michael, there's something I've never understood about your case and would welcome you explaining it. Capita presented an image doctored to show a still which was claimed to be from a live broadcast. Your video obvioulsy shows that this situation did not occur.

Was their still image taken FROM your video, or was it captured by the goon? If the former, then how did they get that, was your video on youtube and they used a still from that?

In either case, using doctored evidence to prosecute is surely perjury - but I don't believe any heads have rolled over it? Surely they should be forcefully held to account for this?


Anonymous said...

This should be made aware to the Select Committee for Culture, Media and Sport.

Admin said...

Hi Chris, apologies for the delay in responding. Mike doesn't regularly comment here, so it's possible he hasn't seen your question. As we know a lot about Mike's case, I'm sure he wouldn't mind us answering on his behalf.

Mike voluntarily invited TV Licensing to his home on the understanding that if they accepted the offer they would be filmed. TV Licensing sent an employee, Ian Doyle, to take up Mike's offer. Mike duly filmed as he said he would. Mike then uploaded the footage to YouTube, where it remained public for a few months until he learnt about the summons.

TV Licensing presented a copy of Mike's video, which had been ripped from YouTube by someone, in their initial prosecution at the Magistrates' Court. The video TV Licensing presented differs from the original uploaded to YouTube, in that their version includes a fleeting glimpse of a frozen image from The One Show superimposed on a TV screen.

That frozen image did not appear in Mike's original visit. Doyle made no reference to the frozen image during the visit and flatly denied seeing any frozen image at the later Crown Court appeal hearing.

It is clear that someone superimposed that image in an attempt to incriminate Mike. TV Licensing is clearly the only organisation with any motive to do that, plus they had the means and opportunity to do so. That said, Mike is not keen to point the finger directly at TV Licensing for obvious reasons.

There is no doubt in my mind about the organisation behind the the doctored evidence. I think most people share the opinion that it has TV Licensing's paw prints all over it. It would appear that they didn't like Mike getting "one over them", so they decided to pull out all the stops to make an example of him.

They are currently doing the same in this case, where they have falsely cried obstruction.

They also tried similar tactics in their failed prosecution of Steve Heather, who's TV they claim to have "detected" when his property was actually empty at the time.

If TV Licensing doesn't like someone, it will exploit the law and try to make an example of them.

That's the dishonest way it does business.