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TV License fines....BBC responsible for over 10% of all criminal prosecutions in Magistrates Courts


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So am i correct in saying that if they are denied entry to your house, they have no proof of a tv device being used =no proof to show to a magistrate to gain a warrant, meaning they are stuffed either way?

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.Predictably this crazy bill has seen the end of "cowboy clampers" and now....we have private parking companies issuing claim forms at a rate never ever seen before with Parking Eye issuing 1,000 county court claims in ONE DAY !! A brilliant way to encourage the public to abandon the internet and shop instead at retail parks. Again...you couldn't make it up !!

 

I wonder how many Coalition MPs are affiliated with these parking companies. This is overt rent-seeking, opportunistic milking of the public. It'll go on till there's civil unrest. I don't think that's good enough, myself, the polticians involved need to be punished.

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So am i correct in saying that if they are denied entry to your house, they have no proof of a tv device being used =no proof to show to a magistrate to gain a warrant, meaning they are stuffed either way?

 

They have to prove every element to the required standard - which for a criminal case is beyond reasonable doubt.They need the results of that interview under caution.

 

Even without it they have been known to press ahead (against the more high profile/vociferous 'troublemakers') using 'flickering light that had to be from a TV' or 'I heard what I believe to be a TV.'. Hardly the required standard. I believe these are private prosecutions. Does anyone ever get a copy of the complaint (THE INFORMATION See the CPR part 7) that was filed against them ?

 

I suggest they seek it out ! The court has duties. Granting process When an information is laid before a magistrate, he must go through the judicial exercise of deciding whether a summons or warrant ought to be issued or not: in other words, whether process should be granted.

 

The discretion to grant process is not an unlimited one: the general principle is that the magistrate ought to issue a summons or warrant pursuant to a properly laid information unless there are compelling reasons not to do so, for example if impropriety or an abuse of process is involved.

 

While recognising that “it would be inappropriate to attempt to lay down an exhaustive catalogue of matters to which consideration should be given”, case law has established the matters that the magistrate should consider as a bare minimum: It would appear that he should at the very least ascertain: (i) whether the allegation is of an offence known to the law and if so whether the essential ingredients of the offence are prima facie present; (ii) that the offence alleged is not 'out of time'; (iii) that the court has jurisdiction; (iv) whether the informant has the necessary authority to prosecute. A magistrate who issues a summons or warrant without applying his mind to the information and completing this judicial exercise will be “guilty of dereliction of duty”. * * R v Brentford Justices, ex parte Catlin [1975] QB 455, at 464 BUT the court will not like any potential failing on their part seeing the light of day.

 

Consider this. Call the informant as a witness. Ask "Did you file a valid cause of action ?" they will say yes. So ask "How many elements are there in a valid cause of action ?" This is where the prosecution will leap up and say the witness is not qualified to answer. (Leaving aside for now that the Information IS a legal determination) they just disqualified their own witness ! It the court still presses ahead and allows then testify then the defendant calls someone (anyone) from the gallery to testify for them.

 

Prosecution (or the Legal Adviso) will leap up and say the person isn't qualified to testify. So shine this light "The court has already determined that not being qualified to testify is not a bar to giving testimony. What has happened to the quest for equality in this case ?" Be aware that the court will not like this at all. Also consider that the complaint (The Information) isn't evidence. So where is the evidence, where is the proof ? When tasked about this the court may say the Information is the proof ! (which is of course an absolute lie).

 

This method can be used against all kinds of mass production cases. However it shines a very bright light on what is actually going in the court and the court will (for reasons I leave to the reader) not liike it all. they will probably react in a 'spectacular fashion'. This needs an agile and prepared defendant. The most peaceable reaction I have seen is to postpone that case until the end of the day when there are no others left to see. However well its done it could still end up with a railroad decision.

 

These case are not about the law or justice. I hold back from expressing my full opinion of what is happening in these cases. Instead I will merely note that Magistrate's Court proceedings are not recorded for a multitude of reasons and leave to the reader to consider what those reasons may be. If anyone reading this feels they have the chutzpah to go this route then they need to think carefully if they are up to it and its potential consequences.

 

And to take their own independent note taker/recorder/shorthand exponent.

Edited by citizenB
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@ lamma above, as has been indicated before Crapita TVL is running a kangaroo court.

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The bailiff: A 12th Century solution re-branded as Enforcement Agents for the 21st Century to seize and sell debtors goods as before Oh so Dickensian!

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HMCS runs the court....

 

Yes they do, but TVL Crapita basically run the bulk process and prosecute, so as they are a private company initiating criminal prosecutions, they are a kangaroo court imho

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Yes they do, but TVL Capita basically run the bulk process and prosecute, so as they are a private company initiating criminal prosecutions, they are a kangaroo court imho

 

I think that you will also find that under the Contracting out of Council Tax regs Capita also represent the Local Authority at the "bulk application" hearings in the Magistrates Court for Liability Orders......

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I think that you will also find that under the Contracting out of Council Tax regs Capita also represent the Local Authority at the "bulk application" hearings in the Magistrates Court for Liability Orders......

Yes Indeed they do TT, again a kangaroo court that nods through bulk orders for peanuts then charges maybe 500% extra or more to the debtor a real cash raiser for the LA and their tame bailiffs, against people who maybe cannot afford the original bill.

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Yes they do, but TVL Crapita basically run the bulk process and prosecute, so as they are a private company initiating criminal prosecutions, they are a kangaroo court imho

We agree. See my points about The Information and the duty of the JP.

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We agree. See my points about The Information and the duty of the JP.

We most definitely do, these kangaroo proceedings, take a waggon and team of six through procedural fairness, and due process. perhaps they actually breach the European Convention on Human Rights, as in" Right to a fair trial"

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Questions to anyone viewing this thread.

 

If an Inspector visits...does anyone know how long the debtor is given to purchase a TV Licence

 

 

Secondly, does anyone know the approx length of time from when the inspector visits to the matter being heard in court?

 

I know the answer to both of those.

 

1. If a "visiting officer" calls and establishes that an offence is being committed (e.g. the occupier admits or is seen using a TV receiver) then a Record of Interview form (TVL 178 form) is completed, which would form the basis of Capita's subsequent prosecution evidence (assuming they decided to prosecute in that case). The occupier is not given the option of buying a licence, although some of them tender the fee there and then in the hope it will undo their "misdeed". If the visiting officer accepts the fee then they do so on the understanding that it does not prejudice any subsequent prosecution case (e.g. even if the occupier pays for the licence, they could still be prosecuted for the offence).

 

2. TV licence evasion is a summary offence, which means it is only dealt with by the Magistrates' Court. The prosecution must lay its case to the court (e.g. set the legal wheels in motion) within 120 days of the commission of the offence. If they miss this deadline then the case cannot proceed. Quite often cases are brought to court close to that deadline, so their is less "wiggle room" for the defendant to consider their options. A typical case might be heard before the court 4 or 5 months after the commission of the offence.

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Correction, my bad: The times limit for laying information to the court, as set out in section 127 of the Magistrates' Court Act 1980, is 180 days.

 

I know the answer to both of those.

 

1. If a "visiting officer" calls and establishes that an offence is being committed (e.g. the occupier admits or is seen using a TV receiver) then a Record of Interview form (TVL 178 form) is completed, which would form the basis of Capita's subsequent prosecution evidence (assuming they decided to prosecute in that case). The occupier is not given the option of buying a licence, although some of them tender the fee there and then in the hope it will undo their "misdeed". If the visiting officer accepts the fee then they do so on the understanding that it does not prejudice any subsequent prosecution case (e.g. even if the occupier pays for the licence, they could still be prosecuted for the offence).

 

2. TV licence evasion is a summary offence, which means it is only dealt with by the Magistrates' Court. The prosecution must lay its case to the court (e.g. set the legal wheels in motion) within 120 days of the commission of the offence. If they miss this deadline then the case cannot proceed. Quite often cases are brought to court close to that deadline, so their is less "wiggle room" for the defendant to consider their options. A typical case might be heard before the court 4 or 5 months after the commission of the offence.

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tvlb1

 

Excellent information.

 

You say that the prosecution needs to lay their case in court "within 120 days" (ie 4 months) of the "commission of the offence" and that a typical case will heard approx 4-5 months after the "commission of the offence".

 

So, are you saying that the "prosecution" have a maximum of 4 months to "lay their case" in court and if so what is the starting date ( commission of the offence"). Is this taken as being the date that the visiting officer established that a TV was being used?

 

It would seem from your answer that the court will hear the case very shortly after the prosecution have laid their case in court. I am correct?

 

Last two questions: Who prosecutes.....BBC or Capita?

 

From the example of the court hearing given it is clear that no defendants attended. Are any checks made to establish whether the "prosecution" have abided by the 120 day deadline?

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I had a TV License rep keep coming around and kept getting letters addressed to "the occupier". I rang the licensing authority and told them i didn't want anyone visiting my property ever again, and they said OK. Then a few weeks later another visit. So I rang again demanding that they never ever visit me again and was told OK again.

 

I also told them I dont watch anything apart from CATCH UP tv, and they said therefore I didnt need a license.

 

The main thin is they NEVER had my name (hence always writing to "the occupier") and they cannot summons to court "the occupier". only "mr smith". Therefore I NEVER EVER gave my name to either the doorstep muppet, or anyone on the telephone at the licensing authority.

 

A few days later I got this:

 

photo.jpg

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TT, six months to lay the information is standard as per the MCA and not just applicable to this 'activity'.

The summons may be generated later.

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lamma,

 

This would explain why I have received so many enquiries from "debtors" who had not received a summons as they had moved address. I hadn't realised until today that TV Licensing have 6 months in which to "lay the complaint".

 

Very grateful indeed for the information. Thank you everyone.

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I was mistaken on the 120 days - it's actually 180 days (see my earlier post a few above).

Capita bring the prosecutions on behalf of the BBC (who are the "Television Licensing Authority"). As long as the information is laid before the court within 180 days of the offence then Capita can proceed with the prosecution. What usually happens is that Capita inform the court, a summons is issued within about a fortnight, and the first hearing is scheduled about 4 or 5 weeks after that. They have to allow a reasonable length of time between the summons and hearing, as the defendant might wish to seek legal advice. If the defendant fails to reply to the summons then the hearing will still go ahead and they'll be found guilty and sentenced in their absence. Similarly if they plead guilty they will normally be sentenced in their absence, although they could attend if they wanted to. If they submit a plea of not guilty in response to the summons then at the first hearing their plea will be submitted and the court will adjourn matters for trial. The trial is usually about 6-8 weeks after the initial hearing.

 

tvlb1

 

Excellent information.

 

You say that the prosecution needs to lay their case in court "within 120 days" (ie 4 months) of the "commission of the offence" and that a typical case will heard approx 4-5 months after the "commission of the offence".

 

So, are you saying that the "prosecution" have a maximum of 4 months to "lay their case" in court and if so what is the starting date ( commission of the offence"). Is this taken as being the date that the visiting officer established that a TV was being used?

 

It would seem from your answer that the court will hear the case very shortly after the prosecution have laid their case in court. I am correct?

 

Last two questions: Who prosecutes.....BBC or Capita?

 

From the example of the court hearing given it is clear that no defendants attended. Are any checks made to establish whether the "prosecution" have abided by the 120 day deadline?

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I've jumped from the first page of this thread to here, so apologies if i'm duplicating anything already said.

Firstly, if Capita TVL are now responsible for "Licence Enfarcement" then how can they actually sue anyobdy for not having a TV licence? I bet NOBODY has EVER signed a contract with Capita to agree to pay for a TV licence!

Secondly, the BBC should themselves be in court for obtaining money by deception. As i understand it, the Licence Fee was meant to go to the general running, upkeep etc of the transmitters but more importantly to making NEW programs! If that's the case, why are they doing re-runs of Only Fools & Horses during wekkday daytime tv?

Granted it was a fantastic series but the emphasis is on the "was". While that alone may have been worth the licence fee in 1983, would Capita accept the licence from 1983? After all, you're only watching what was on in that year! Put another way, if the BBC keep showing repeats, how come we are not allowed to use the licence repeatedly?

Thirdly and as far as i'm concerned, the licence fee should be abolished as an outdated, illegal, ownership tax.

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Before posting any more, let me explain that I have a close interest in the topic of TV Licensing.

 

The licence fee is taxation that the BBC is responsible for enforcing and collecting by law (the Broadcasting Act 1990). The BBC chooses to contract that function out to Capita and all of the BBC's TV licence enforcement powers are delegated to Capita for that purpose. Capita do not sue anyone, but they do prosecute people who use a TV receiver without a licence. As I said, that responsibility has been delegated to them by the BBC. The is nothing in law that says how the BBC has to spend the licence fee.

 

As for the amount of repeats, you're absolutely right that it's farcical.

 

I've jumped from the first page of this thread to here, so apologies if i'm duplicating anything already said.

Firstly, if Capita TVL are now responsible for "Licence Enfarcement" then how can they actually sue anyobdy for not having a TV licence? I bet NOBODY has EVER signed a contract with Capita to agree to pay for a TV licence!

Secondly, the BBC should themselves be in court for obtaining money by deception. As i understand it, the Licence Fee was meant to go to the general running, upkeep etc of the transmitters but more importantly to making NEW programs! If that's the case, why are they doing re-runs of Only Fools & Horses during wekkday daytime tv?

Granted it was a fantastic series but the emphasis is on the "was". While that alone may have been worth the licence fee in 1983, would Capita accept the licence from 1983? After all, you're only watching what was on in that year! Put another way, if the BBC keep showing repeats, how come we are not allowed to use the licence repeatedly?

Thirdly and as far as i'm concerned, the licence fee should be abolished as an outdated, illegal, ownership tax.

Edited by ims21
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Sadly i don't know (or pretend to know) all the laws regarding tv licencing. However, there are now hundreds of broadcasters of one form or another and to give the BBC a monopoly on collecting ilcence fees is tantamount to theft in my book.

For example, if you shopped at Sainsburys and were then told by a representative of tescos you had to pay a licence fee for shopping there regardless of whether you entered a tesco store or not, you'd soon tell tescos where to go!

Maybe that's simplifying it too much but i hope you get the point i'm trying to make?

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Very hard to prove though that you watched a live broadcast. In any case these are usually provided with a fee attached via your service provider. e.g If it is live via Sky, then you would have to have a license anyway because Sky notifies the TV license people as soon as you sign up to them, as with the other providers.

 

Just wondering, do they still use TV detectors to see what you are watching, you dont see them about anymore. Be interested to know how reliable these were.

 

I remember being told years ago by a GPO electronics wizz that detector vans didn't really work, they just drove abrround with a list of unlicenced addresses and knocked on any doors that had an arial and no licence.

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I remember as a kid asking my dad how tv detector vans worked and he explained it picked up on the "Front End" oscillations in the tv tuner. Without going into an electronics lecture, tv's of today and even of 30 years ago gave out much fewer emissions from their front ends and these days because of digital tuners would be very hard to identify, especially if there were more digitally tuned devices in the house such as mobile phones, Wi-fi devices, cordless phones - the list is potentially very long.

So it would seem the detector vans were simply a psychological threat with no real teeth behind the threat.

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My son doesnt watch mainstream TV any more and watches it via the internet so hasn't paid for a TV license for over 2 years.

 

I haven't watched live TV (and hence not paid for a licence) for nearly 4 years, and I know people who have been Licence Free for a lot longer than that.

 

He lets them know every year that he is not watching mainstream TV and he doesn't have to pay for his license.

 

He's wasting his time, because they won't believe him.

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