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Bailiff Advice

DCBL...Can't Pay? We'll Take it Away....High Court orders Channel 5 to pay costs of £20,000.

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The following is an extract of the news report published in the Guardian:

 

https://www.theguardian.com/media/2018/feb/22/couple-filmed-evicted-channel-5-tv-show-win-damages-high-court

 

A family filmed being abruptly evicted from their home for Channel 5 series Can’t Pay? We’ll Take It Away has won a high court legal battle, which could force broadcasters to tone down the content of observational documentaries.

 

The episode of the show, which says it features “Britain’s favourite high court enforcement agents”, involved the filming of the eviction of a married couple for failing to pay rent.

 

Shakir Ali and Shahida Aslam, who have two children, were caught by surprise by the landlord and filmed by Channel 5 for the show.

 

The one-hour episode featured shots of Ali having just woken up, wearing pyjama bottoms and a vest, and shots of their bedroom and their children’s rooms and of family possessions stored in bags. It also showed the landlord’s son humiliating the couple, and revealed details including that the couple were unemployed and receiving housing benefit.

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The hearing took place over a 3 day period starting on 5th February but the Judgement was only handed down this morning.

 

I will be posting a copy of the 84 page judgment shortly.

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The following is also taken from the press report:

 

The show, which was watched 9.6m times on Channel 5 channels over an 18-month period, also resulted in the couple’s daughter being bullied at school, the court heard.

 

The couple engaged the law firm Hamlins to take Channel 5 to court, claiming they had a reasonable expectation of privacy.

 

Channel 5 defended the filming tactics as in the public interest as the show addressed real-life issues including personal debt and the dependence of tenants on benefits, and claimed viewing such scenes “was the best way to engage the public and stimulate debate”.

 

However, the production notes on the “story synopsis” showed capturing the drama of the scene was the main focus. It described the “eviction of a seemingly gentle tenant from hell and his very stroppy wife ... the main drama here is the confrontation between the landlord and the tenants”.

 

During the show, Paul Bohill, one of the eviction officers, tells the landlord to provoke the tenants and “say whatever you like, just give it some wellie”. He is heard twice saying that it made “good television”.

 

Mr Justice Arnold backed the couple, awarding them £20,000 and saying that Channel 5 went too far.

 

“The focus of the programme was not upon the matters of public interest, but upon the drama of the conflict,” he said in a ruling handed down on Thursday. “The programme did contribute to a debate of general interest, but I consider the inclusion of the claimants’ private information went beyond what was justified for that purpose.”

 

The ruling means that broadcasters will have to make sure they have a strong public interest argument for filming, or adopt a less intrusive approach.

 

Channel 5 made the following comment:

 

“Channel 5 welcomes the judge’s assessment, which recognises that the programme is made in good faith and in the public interest,” said a spokesman for Channel

 

“We are encouraged by the judge’s acceptance that Channel 5’s editorial discretion extended to the presentation of the story, the tone of the programme and the material included, providing a fair and accurate account of the eviction of the claimants. We also note that the case’s final verdict was based on the specific facts related to a segment involving the Ali family and not the series in general.”

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The law firm that represented the claimants was Hamblins. I have spoken with one of the key members of the team dealing with this case and they have just sent me a copy of the judgment.

 

The following is a copy of what they published on their website a short while ago:

 

https://www.hamlins.co.uk/landmark-win-in-the-high-court-against-channel-5-for-invasion-of-privacy-on-the-tv-show-cant-pay-well-take-it-away

 

Our media team has won a landmark case against Channel 5 for the TV programme Can’t Pay We’ll Take It Away, which went to a full Trial in the High Court earlier this month.

 

The case:

 

Channel 5, who broadcast the observational documentary series, were sued for invasion of privacy by our clients Shakir Ali and Shahida Aslam, a married couple. Our clients were filmed being lawfully evicted from the inside of their home. The husband was not fully dressed, was on crutches and in a vulnerable state due to ongoing medical treatment. The couple also claimed that they were verbally baited by the landlord’s son during the course of the filmed eviction. The resulting programme was broadcast to an estimated 9 million viewers in total through re-runs of the episode over a course of two years, resulting in significant distress and ongoing humiliation for the couple and their wider family.

 

The judgment:

 

The Judge presiding over the case, Justice Arnold, held that our clients did have a reasonable expectation of privacy outweighing the right of the TV company to freedom of expression. He held that whilst the programme itself contributed to a debate of general interest, this did not justify the extensive inclusion of such intrusive footage of the claimant’s private lives.

 

Justice Arnold also noted in his judgment that in this broadcast of Can’t Pay We’ll Take It Away:

 

“The focus of the Programme was not upon matters of public interest, but upon the drama of the conflict between Omar Ahmed and the Claimants, a conflict which had been encouraged by Mr Bohill a High Court Enforcement Agent who appears on the show to make “good television” “

 

Justice Arnold held that ultimately the restriction against Channel 5’s Article 10 right to freedom of expression and information was justified in favour of protecting our clients Article 8 right to respect for one’s private life.

 

A landmark win:

 

This case is ground-breaking in setting a precedent as to the rights and freedom of reality TV and observational documentary producers and broadcasters. This judgment will help determine the extent to which producers and broadcasters can use non-consenting footage of the general public in their TV shows, and the extent to which this can be justified by reference to the public interest.

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I should also mention that a few months ago, OFCOM upheld a complaint regarding Channel 5 and DCBL.

 

In that particular case, there was concern about the BWV (Body Worn Video). Brinkworth Films have been working with DCBL Ltd and it was felt that the camera quality was not good enough for TV programmes. Accordingly, Brinkworth Films purchased better quality BWV's. What this meant, was that the production company and not DCBL Ltd owned the images.

 

If that is not bad enough, if a debtor made a request to DCBL for a copy of the footage.....they had to get permission from Brinkworth. I will publish a copy of the OFCOM decision shortly.

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This judgment today has significant implications for other debtors who may have been affected by a visit from DCBL and where the Channel 5 film crew were in attendance.

 

The legal team at Hamlins have worked amazingly hard to secure this ruling and having spoken with their Paralegal today (Miss Emma Brown) they would be interested to hear from anybody else who may have been affected by the Channel 5 film crew when visited by DCBL Ltd. They too would be able to make a legal claim.

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I was going to say this could open the floodgates to other claims... It does set a precedent aswell...

Do you think that Channel 5 will challenge this ruling?

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I was going to say this could open the floodgates to other claims... It does set a precedent aswell...

Do you think that Channel 5 will challenge this ruling?

 

I have not had time to read the judgment yet but will be looking forward to doing so later this evening. It was literally only handed down this morning.

Edited by honeybee13
Ref to clients removed.

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I mentioned on the forum a while ago that I met with quite a few of the DCBL team at a conference last summer and had a long chat with Paul Bohill. It was astonishing how many people stopped by and wanted to have 'selfies' taken with him.

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On a side note... I'd probably want my selfie with him

 

TL;DR for the attachment...

 

- DCBL and channel 5 sorta acted like they wanted the conflict also lots of bits not shown in programme,

- Family were affected and children bullied

- Privacy may have been breached...

- There may or may not have been a deposit...

- One of the people may have been a political figure...

- The family expressed they didn't want to be filmed numerous times

- Some OFCom bits...

- 20k in damages... Possibly more if not postings by the LL

 

And there is FKOs TLDR review of the case...

It's a doozy...

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In the judgment I see Bohill's behaviour is pretty disgusting and that the Judge essentially says that his statements are dubious. No surprise really.

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No mention of the fact that their HCEO, Claire Sandbrook (Shergroup) appears to have little to no control over the EAs from her rented house in Florida either...

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Agree with both your posts HCEOs, Bohill is an arrogant twerp, Sandbrook should not be allowed to pay Dog The Bounty Hunter via DCBL from Florida, she cannot exercise any form of due diligence so should be removed from any UK Register and disbarred. Sandbrook and Bohill bring HCEOS who do the job right into unwarranted disrepute as in all tarred and feathered together.

Anywaqy a good result against the TV Channel cashing in on misery, hope more sue them, you never know, a reputable HCEO might have to enforce against CH 5 in the future, serve 'em right.


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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Maybe it's time the press understood the farce of the authorised HCEO system and just how much it's been abused by the well known few. I guess this story could spark that interest.

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Maybe it's time the press understood the farce of the authorised HCEO system and just how much it's been abused by the well known few. I guess this story could spark that interest.

It puts you all in a bad light undeserved by most HCEOS. The thing is the system as a whole is a farce when a media provider can call the shots and stage manage a situation that is stressful for the debtor,

 

I cannot disagree in any way with the Judge's comments in the Judgement document.


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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It puts you all in a bad light undeserved by most HCEOS. The thing is the system as a whole is a farce when a media provider can call the shots and stage manage a situation that is stressful for the debtor,

 

I cannot disagree in any way with the Judge's comments in the Judgement document.

 

Not that I would get into the position ( touch wood) but if I were confronted with HCEO's and a camera crew, I would turn violent with no action excluded. Of course I would warn them first and if they refused to stop filming, I would take action against the camera/sound crew. They would be carrying some very expensive equipment and that would be the first target.

 

Many of the people filmed are vulnerable, often with mental health issues and CH5 production company by filming them are taking part in an abuse.

 

I would question whether DCBL and CH5 are committing criminal offences in some cases ?

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Not that I would get into the position ( touch wood) but if I were confronted with HCEO's and a camera crew, I would turn violent with no action excluded. Of course I would warn them first and if they refused to stop filming, I would take action against the camera/sound crew. They would be carrying some very expensive equipment and that would be the first target.

 

Many of the people filmed are vulnerable, often with mental health issues and CH5 production company by filming them are taking part in an abuse.

 

I would question whether DCBL and CH5 are committing criminal offences in some cases ?

 

I think they may well be on the wrong side of the law more often than not judging by the shenanigans on screen. Incidentally if I were a passer by or their victim, I would be filming them with my phone, which can capture some decent video, and like yourself an accidental "trip" causing me to knock into the camera operator, or something on a tripod would happen.forewarned I would use a decent camcorder, and it would be on YouTube within the hour. One thing to bear in mind is that the GDPR data protection regulations might be breached after May with this sort of filming by C 5.


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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Now wouldn't it be funny if the claimants raised this to the High Court and it was farmed out to DCBL for non payment of damages.... 🤣🤣🤣🤣🤣

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Now wouldn't it be funny if the claimants raised this to the High Court and it was farmed out to DCBL for non payment of damages.... 🤣🤣🤣🤣🤣

You do have a wicked sense of humour.....but it would be funny.

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I only wish pain on the corporations that have given so much pain to their customers...

 

RBS and GRG... Target on you

Welcome Finance... Target on you

All Payday Loan firms... Massive target on you..

 

That's why we wrote the irresponsible lending guide for CAG ...

 

But back to topic... Pauly B... I actually like him however very shocked by what i read...

 

GPDR would certainly be breached if this had occurred after May

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