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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.

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Saturday 28 January 2017

Magistrates Review TV Licence Evasion Sentencing Guidelines

Criminal damage, theft, possession of drugs and TV licence evasion.

Can you spot the odd one out?

Given the subject of the TV Licensing Blog it's bound to be TV licence evasion, but do you know the reason why?

Well done if you spotted that the first three offences are commonly dealt with by way of a conditional discharge. For whatever reason the judiciary deems TV licence evasion, an offence with no victim whatsoever, more punishable than the likes of criminal damage and assault, where the victim is quite evident.

Great news earlier this week that the Magistrates' Court Sentencing Guidelines, which advise Magistrates' Courts in England and Wales how to pass sentence, will be updated in April to include the option of imposing a conditional discharge on anyone convicted of TV licence evasion.

Currently anyone convicted of TV licence evasion faces a fine of around half their relevant weekly income, which normally equates to somewhere in the region of £100. Repeat or long term offenders face a greater fine, but even then it is unlikely to be more than about £200. The theoretical maximum fine for TV licence evasion is £1,000, which TV Licensing mentions a lot for deterrent purposes.

In addition to the fine, the court normally orders the defendant to make a contribution towards TV Licensing's prosecution costs. TV Licensing makes an application for costs in every case, but the court can refuse or award a smaller sum.

From the end of April the minimum suggested penalty for TV licence evasion will be a conditional discharge. This penalty is likely to be used in the case of short term, first time or accidental offenders or those on low incomes.

Philip Davies, the plain speaking Conservative MP for Shipley, said: "There is a growing unhappiness about the licence fee and being forced to pay for something whether they want it or not."

He continued: "This is a further nail in the coffin of the licence fee, because the more it becomes unenforceable, the more the BBC will have to find another method of funding."

Andrew Bridgen, a fellow Conservative MP that campaigns against the TV licence fee, said: "If someone cannot afford to pay the £145.50 licence then they are highly unlikely to be in a position to pay a £1,000 fine. People are being criminalised where their only crime is being poor and this needs to stop."

The relaxation of penalties is a welcome move and one which the Magistrates' Association has been seeking for many years. With any luck it signifies a step closer to decriminalisation of this most trivial and unjust of offences.

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Anonymous said...

Which just goes to show it is a money making scam for HMCS, and Crapita one they want to continue forever. Next wheeze, BBC to lobby for ALL streaming to be brought under TV License? Wonder if Amazon, Netflix and Google YouTube would take court action against BBC/Crapita in that case?

pamela said...

I Have never watched the BBC...i only watch the discovery and history channel on sky...so why should i pay for re-runs of old tv programs year in year out..they run them all again!!! In 1956 we all paid to watch the film "High Noon"..in 2017 we are still paying for the same film only now it's 61 time more than in 1956...FOR THE SAME FILM!!!! WRONG IT'S ALL WRONG

Fred Bear said...

The tide is turning against criminal penalties being used to raise money for an entertainment company. Scotland and the Channel Islands have largely given up on prosecutions.

Anonymous said...

Due to legal changes in Scotland, no-one has been sent to prison for TV Licensing since 2010. This is because you cannot jail someone they fail to pay a fine of under £500.


Hopefully the same will now apply to the rest of the UK and common sense will prevail.

These last, desperate efforts by the BBC to cling onto its monopoly of force where TV broadcasts are concerned is both predictable and futile. We are now in a world where the BBC channel broadcasts are but a small number in a growing multitude.

If there are aspects of the BBC which the government views as paramount (News, the Parliament Channel and Children's programmes being the usual candidates), then they should be funded from central taxation.

Entertainment and other idiocy should not be subsidised by force. Let them broadcast it on a subscription channel or with advertising (possibly both, the subscription channel being advert free) and then let them sink or swim.

The TV License has for too long been a license for BBC excesses and abuse and it must be brought to an end.