A woman only learnt that she'd been convicted of TV licence evasion when someone searched for her name on the internet.
St Ann's resident Monica Monni, 39, was shocked to learn that she had been prosecuted by TV Licensing on the falsehood that her previous address didn't have a valid TV licence, when in fact it had always been covered by a TV licence in her partner's name.
After discovering she'd been wrongly named and shamed, Monica brought the matter to TV Licensing's attention. Monica's wrongful conviction was duly annulled by Nottingham Magistrates' Court but, quite rightly, she is furious to have been convicted in the first place.
Speaking to The Nottingham Post, Monica said: "This was a terrible mix-up.
"The TV licence was being paid out of my partner's account. I had no idea that I was being prosecuted.
"We had moved by the time the letter from TV Licensing came through. I only found out later I had been 'found guilty' in my absence.
"I appealed it through TV licensing and was completely exonerated. It's been a nightmare."
The mother-of-one had originally been fined £200 and ordered to pay the £15 victim surcharge and £60 prosecution costs when the non-existent offence was dealt with back in January 2013.
Cases like this make us very angry, as they serve to demonstrate the fundamental flaws in TV Licensing's prosecution process. One would assume that TV Licensing would carefully check the TV licence-status of a property before attempting to prosecute the occupier for evasion, but Monica's case proves otherwise. Yet again, TV Licensing's slovenly attention to detail has seen a totally innocent individual wrongly criminalised and put through the wringer.
Capita Business Services Ltd. is the TV Licensing contractor responsible for bringing prosecutions on behalf of the BBC.
In our opinion Monica's case is far from an isolated incident. Every week hundreds of innocent people are wheeled before the courts by TV Licensing, often on the most tenuous of evidence.
Capita makes a good living from prosecuting alleged TV licence evaders, with recently released documents showing the company was awarded almost £120m in prosecutions costs in the 12 months to 31st March 2015.The BBC has previously confirmed that all prosecution costs awarded by the court are retained by Capita.
As is customary for the TV Licensing Blog, a quick reminder of the relevant legislation:
- A TV licence is required for any property where equipment is installed (e.g. plugged in, ready for use) or used to receive TV programmes at the same time as they are broadcast to other members of the public.
- From 1st September 2016, a TV licence will also be required by anyone intending to watch or download on-demand BBC iPlayer programmes.
- The TV licence of a person's home address will cover any occupant of that property to view TV programmes on uninstalled devices (e.g. unplugged laptops, tablets or mobile phones) elsewhere.
- A TV licence is NOT needed merely to own a TV set, PC, laptop, tablet, mobile phone or whatever. It is the act of receiving TV programmes that is licensable, not possessing equipment capable of doing so.
Furthermore, we'd add that anyone who doesn't legally require a TV licence has no business whatsoever with TV Licensing. We'd encourage these legally-licence-free people to ignore TV Licensing completely.
TV Licensing cannot be trusted. Keep the door firmly closed and keep the scum from TV Licensing out.
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