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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, 7 October 2017

Daily Mail Tightens Screws on TV Licensing

The Daily Mail has today published another exposé into the horrific tactics employed by the BBC's revenue generation bullies, TV Licensing.

The TV Licensing operations contractor, Capita Business Services Ltd, is responsible for the majority of TV licence administration and enforcement work. Capita employs the TV Licensing goons that visit unlicensed properties. Capita incentivises its goons to gather the "evidence" needed to prosecute those it suspects (or not) of evading the TV licence fee. Capita employs the Court Presenters that regularly pursue legally baseless and meritless prosecutions against those people. The BBC is the statutory Licensing Authority and retains full legal responsibility for all aspects of TV licence administration, collection and enforcement.

Glen Keogh's piece explains how TV Licensing, despite claiming it prosecutes only as a last resort and in the public interest, needlessly drags some of the most vulnerable people in society to court.

These include:
  • Jeremy Lewis-Evans, 45, from Cardiff. Jeremy, who has a brain aneurysm, was at home alone when a TV Licensing goon asked to enter the property and nose about inside. Jeremy, who suffers debilitating headaches and confusion, told the goon that he had a TV licence. He did not realise that he technically unlicensed, because his Direct Debit has failed FIVE days earlier. Despite explaining the situation to TV Licensing, it decided to prosecute anyway. Jeremy was unaware of his conviction until the bailiffs turned up chasing his unpaid fine. He made a statutory declaration to the court, which overturned his conviction.
  • Roy Brako, 44, from Plymouth, was forced to make the 550-mile round trip to London to clear his name of TV licence evasion charges. Roy moved to Plymouth in 2011, but a TV Licensing goon somehow gathered evidence against him during a visit to his former London flat in 2013. When confronted with evidence that Roy wasn't living at the unlicensed property, TV Licensing withdrew the case against him. In common with many TV Licensing cases, we will never know how the "evidence" was generated against him.
  • Jo Marsh, 39, was visited by a TV Licensing goon in January 2017 after falling behind in her payments. Jo has two children and post-traumatic stress disorder on the back of an abusive marriage. She was hauled before Wigan & Leigh Magistrates' Court in August, but TV Licensing decided to withdraw the charges against her at the last moment when she informed the court that she had unsuccessfully attempted to make arrangements for payment.
  • Olga Umbrase, 31, had to go to court three times to clear her name after TV Licensing had her wrongly convicted of TV licence evasion. The Latvian accountant had moved out of the unlicensed property, but someone there had obviously given her details when TV Licensing visited back in 2010. The first Olga knew of it was when the court started making deductions from her bank account.
  • Marcus Greenhouse, who we have previously discussed, was recently bereaved when TV Licensing decided to use its unique brand of customer service on him. Marcus' wife, who had died tragically young, normally dealt with the TV licence, but given the circumstances it went unpaid. Marcus understandably had more pressing matters to deal with. When TV Licensing called he held up his hands and said "yes, it's my mistake" and he paid for a new TV licence immediately. The goon reassured him that would be the end of the matter, but TV Licensing still decided to prosecute. Despite his emotional turmoil, genuine remorse and immediate recompense, Marcus was criminalised by TV Licensing. Sickening.
The Daily Mail observed 256 TV Licensing court hearings this Summer. These were contested cases, where the defendant had either pleaded not guilty or they had otherwise been deemed unsuitable for trial by the Single Justice Procedure. In 85 cases the charges were either dismissed by the court or withdrawn by TV Licensing. In other words, in a third of these cases - which TV Licensing claims to have scrutinised with the highest degree of precision - the charges were deemed unsuitable.

During one Daily Mail observation, the court threw out 20 of the 27 TV licence evasion cases listed.

Meg Hillier MP, chair of the House of Commons Public Accounts Committee, said she was very concerned by the figures.

Mrs Hillier said: "We already had concerns about the conduct of Capita officers.

"We will keep a close eye on how Capita are operating on behalf of the BBC licence fee payers.

"The Mail has uncovered a high court failure rate which suggests that Capita are not doing their job properly on the doorstep. Court time is being wasted and people are being put through unnecessarily traumatic experiences."

Andrew Bridgen MP, an outspoken critic of the BBC and TV Licensing, said: "These statistics will come as no surprise to any MP used to dealing with these matters as constituency casework. It should not be a criminal offence not to pay the TV tax."

According to the BBC, last year it withdrew 600 prosecutions for not being in the public interest. It also claims to have withdrawn 100,000 prosecutions where the licence holder had fallen behind in their payments for the first time.

A BBC spokesman said: "The small number of cases highlighted by the Daily Mail does not fairly reflect TV Licensing's approach to enforcement."

We disagree. We'd urge you to flick through our past articles to see the reasons why.

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