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Tuesday 6 August 2013

TV Licensing Welsh Search Warrant Execution

New footage has appeared on YouTube showing a brace of TV Licensing goons attempting to execute a search warrant.

According to the occupier, he went to answer the door last night (5th August 2013) and was immediately confronted by two TV Licensing goons who forced their way through causing damage in the process. In accordance with TV Licensing policy, the goons were accompanied by two police officers, who were there solely to prevent any breach of the peace.

The video footage starts a few seconds after the goons have entered the hallway of the property. The occupier, understandably aggrieved that total strangers have unexpectedly stormed his front door, remonstrates with them for a few moments. 

The lead goon, who appears to be wearing a jet black hair piece and fake moustache (pictured above), announces that they have a search warrant and starts to recite the caution. The goon offered the occupier a copy of the warrant to inspect, which he refused to take. The goon then placed the warrant down on a nearby table, telling the occupier it was there for them anyway. 

A lady in the background voices concern that children are present, and she asks to be able to take them upstairs out of the way. The occupier then asks to speak alone to one of the police officers, which takes place out of camera shot. 

All the while the toupee-wearing goon is feverishly scribbling notes on a sheet of paper. He mutters something about "obstruction of the warrant" to his colleague, who we learn is called Anthony Elliott when he later shows his ID card to the camera.

The occupier asks one of the police officers if he enjoys helping defend TV Licensing, to which he replies that they (TV Licensing) have a job to do and the police have been asked to attend to prevent a breach of the peace. The occupier then confirms that the video footage will be appearing on YouTube.

Having completed his scribbles the toupee-wearing goon indicates their imminent departure to Elliott and the police officers. He mutters something to one police officer about "we'll now do whatever we need to do" as they shuffle out of the door.

The occupier explains in a YouTube comment that he has experienced two previous doorstep encounters with TV Licensing goons. He gave them no information on either of those occasion, so was very surprised when they arrived armed with a search warrant. He also explained that he had been in contact with Capita to make a formal complaint, and they have told him to contact the police about any damage caused by their employees.

Having listened to the mutterings of the fake-moustachioed goon we now expect TV Licensing to argue that the occupier has obstructed the execution of the search warrant. However, we don't think it's quite as clear cut as that. The law, section 366(8) of the Communications Act 2003, explains the circumstances in which a person is guilty of the offence of obstructing a TV Licensing search warrant. To be guilty of an offence a person either needs to either "intentionally obstruct" or "without reasonable excuse, fail to give assistance to" the person executing the warrant.

On the basis of the video evidence, we don't think either of those benchmarks has been met in this case. It is quite clear from the video that neither of the TV Licensing goons, despite being beyond the threshold of the property, make any effort at all to conduct their search. The toupee-wearing goon remained anchored to the floor as he officiously rustled his bits of paper; the Anthony Elliott goon didn't move any further than the doormat. At no time did the occupier physically obstruct their way, as they were already clearly within the property. 

We consider it extremely unlikely that had either goon attempted to search the house they would have been physically prevented from doing so, particularly as the police were present. It is an irrefutable fact that neither of them made any effort whatsoever to enter any of the other rooms in the property. If they didn't make any effort to search, how can any reasonable person consider they were obstructed in doing so?

In any event, we consider the occupier would had reasonable excuse not to assist TV Licensing, given his family had just experienced alarm and distress caused by their unexpected forceful entry to the property. How could he reasonably be expected to keep a level head in those circumstances and kowtow to the goon's every demand?

We will be very interested to see how this one pans out. Hopefully we'll be able to add some more information to this post later on.

Given the BBC's apparent fascination with watching TV Licensing goon videos, please remember to download your own copy and share it with as many people as you can.

Edit: The occupier has just uploaded a copy of the warrant to YouTube (this is a reuploaded version). It was granted by a JP at Gwent & South Wales Magistrates Court on 10th July 2013. We have advised him about the next steps to take.

Edit (22/8/13): We have just learned that the toupee-wearing goon is called Chris Morgan.

Edit (23/8/13): You can now read the deposition in this case in this follow up post.


Admin said...

At the moment we don't know exactly Ray, although it's something we have tasked the occupier - who has no legal need for a TV licence - to find out.

A lot of work is going on in the background, so stay tuned for further updates.

Anonymous said...

Can you get the video back online?

Admin said...

As it's not my video, I sadly can't. It only showed an image of the actual warrant.

Far more information about this case in this post.

TV Licensing Watch said...

It's not only the hairpiece and moustache that are fake. So are the spectacles. The lenses don't refract.