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Wednesday 29 October 2014

TV Licensing Goon Accused of Inaccurate Record Keeping

A West Midlands TV Licensing goon has been accused of malpractice by a care worker wrongly summoned to court on TV licence evasion charges.

Radhika, not her real name, received a summons in relation to an offence TV Licensing claim she committed on 10th June 2014. In reality, as someone who never receives live TV programmes, she doesn't need a TV licence at all.

In her email she explained how a TV Licensing goon visited her Bilston home on the evening of 11th June 2014. She was making dinner at the time and invited him into the kitchen for a chat - a decision she now regrets.

The goon asked Radhika whether she had a TV licence, to which she replied "No, as I do not watch live TV programmes. I don't have the time". The 28-year-old admitted having a TV set, which she said was used for playing games and watching on-demand content via Netflix. Neither of those situations legally need a TV licence.

Radhika offered to show the goon her legally-licence-free set-up, but he declined when told there was a dog in the same room.

By this stage the goon was outstaying his welcome and Radhika was keen to get on with her dinner. As the visit had been uneventful from her point of view, she had no problem signing the goon's paperwork and wishing him a good evening. Unfortunately she paid very little attention to what was actually written on the form before signing it.

Skip forward five months and Radhika has now received a copy of the TVL178 Record of Interview form she unwittingly signed that evening. Reading the form more carefully, she now realises it bears little resemblance to the events of 11th June. 

Of course, with the passage of time, Radhika can't remember the fine detail of such an uneventful visit, but she is quite adamant that the goon never cautioned her. She is also quite definite that the goon never asked about when she last watched TV programmes.

We have no trouble at all believing Radhika's account. Her email demonstrates a clear understanding of the law and we're confident she would have elaborated the same to the goon who visited. Cases like this, where the recollections of the goon and occupier are at odds, are sadly quite common.

It is unfortunate, but Radhika will now face an uphill struggle trying to clear her name of an offence she has not committed.

Radhika's case aptly demonstrates why total non-contact with TV Licensing is the best option for the legally-licence-free.

We have previously challenged the BBC on why it often takes 5 or 6 months for TV Licensing to start a prosecution. TV Licensing must inform the court of its intention to prosecute (called "laying information") within 6-months of the alleged offence, but a delay of several months is clearly detrimental to the defendant. The BBC denies any skulduggery, but we don't believe them.

The BBC and TV Licensing will read about this case tomorrow morning. We somehow doubt they'd even raise an eyebrow at the Spanish practices becoming endemic in their organisation.

Edit: It has been an eventful evening. Radhika has just been back in touch to say that she has returned the summons indicating a not guilty plea. She also mentioned for the first time that she has a witness who is prepared to corroborate the fact that the goon didn't caution her or ask any questions about when she last watched live TV programmes. This is a very significant development and could well swing the case in her favour. We have asked her to keep us informed of developments.

Edit (10/12/14): Radhika has just informed us that when she attended Coventry Magistrates' Court on 8th December 2014, she was told by TV Licensing that it had withdrawn the charges against her. More information here.


KarmaCorner said...

GOOD LUCK Lady, hope you get not guilty and seek compensation for the harassment, stress and time waisted.

Anonymous said...

I'm calling it now - TV Lie-censing will bottle this case just before the hearing.

Unknown said...

Guys can ye advise on the legal position with regards a council tenant?? "implied right of access " ,I've been told that only works if you are a home owner.. Is this correct guys? So does a council tenant have to let these criminals into their accommodation?? Thanks in advance :)

Admin said...

A tenant has full rights to remove TV Licensing's implied right of access to their property.

Please note that removing TV Licensing's rights of access can have negative side-effects and we only recommend you consider it if you are truly TV-free.

Please read this article for more information about it.