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Wireless Telegraphy Act 1949


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I have seen several threads on this site quoting the wireless telegraphy act 1949 as a tool to prevent harassment - but having had a quick scan I don't necessarily see that it applies.

 

Can anyone provide a summary of which sections of the act we can quote?

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Don't know who's quoting the Wireless Telegraphy Act 1949 as that's been repealed!

 

S.127 of the Communications Act 2003 is the one to look at:

 

127 Improper use of public electronic communications network

(1) A person is guilty of an offence if he-

  • (a) sends by means of a public electronic communications network a message or other matter that is grossly offensive or of an indecent, obscene or menacing character; or

  • (b) causes any such message or matter to be so sent.

(2) A person is guilty of an offence if, for the purpose of causing annoyance, inconvenience or needless anxiety to another, he-

  • (a) sends by means of a public electronic communications network, a message that he knows to be false,

  • (b) causes such a message to be sent; or

  • © persistently makes use of a public electronic communications network.

(3) A person guilty of an offence under this section shall be liable, on summary conviction, to imprisonment for a term not exceeding six months or to a fine not exceeding level 5 on the standard scale, or to both.

(4) Subsections (1) and (2) do not apply to anything done in the course of providing a programme service (within the meaning of the Broadcasting Act 1990 (c. 42)).

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A quick search of these forums show that a number of people have quoted it as a way of striking back at these b******ds - thanks for sorting that one out.

 

I had found that section of the Communications Act - I suspect careful wording of a letter would be required to make that applicable.

 

Has anyone persuaded a DCA to back off through threatening that?

 

I have a feeling my next question will be able taking these guys to the Magistrates court :)

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There is a template here that you might find useful.

 

Basically you need to make them aware that you find the phone calls are of an indecent, obscene or menacing character OR are causing annoyance, inconvenience or needless anxiety. The latter is probably the easiest to make stick.

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I have seen several threads on this site quoting the wireless telegraphy act 1949 as a tool to prevent harassment - but having had a quick scan I don't necessarily see that it applies.

 

Can anyone provide a summary of which sections of the act we can quote?

 

Would this not be covered by The Protection from Harassment Act 1997?

 

John

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Would this not be covered by The Protection from Harassment Act 1997?

As far as I can see it there is no accepted legal definition of what constitutes "harassment" in any of the acts that cover it. And in truth I think I would be hard put to claim that the daily calls from NCO are really harassment in the spirit of the acts - in my case I find it little more than an annoyance.

 

Of the wording I've checked it seems that the Communications Act of 2003 is the broadest in that it covers "annoyance and inconvenience" rather than just harassment.

 

I think a well-worded letter should make the point that further phone calls are unnecessary and hence that any more you receive can only be for the purpose of causing annoyance.

 

Of course I really don't think that will get them to stop, and I'm not sure if there are any realistic ways to take legal action against them as an individual.

 

However I do intend to send NCO such a letter and if (when) they ignore it I may see if there is a feasible route through the Magistrates court

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Would this not be covered by The Protection from Harassment Act 1997?

 

John

 

You can use both, although the PFHA requires more than one incident of harassment for an offence to be caused whereas a single incident can give rise to an offence being committed under s.127 CA.

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As far as I can see it there is no accepted legal definition of what constitutes "harassment" in any of the acts that cover it. And in truth I think I would be hard put to claim that the daily calls from NCO are really harassment in the spirit of the acts - in my case I find it little more than an annoyance.

Harassment isn't defined under the act as it is subjective - if you feel you are being harassed and you can convince a bench of magistrates that you've been harassed then you've been harassed!

 

Actually it's not quite as straightforward as that but in general it's determined on the facts of each case.

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It's done by the "reasonable Person" test. In s.1 of the PFHA 1997 it says that if a reasonable person would think it's harrassment then that's what it is. The Harrasser has to pursue a "course of conduct"; which is defined in the Act as at least two actions.

 

I'm not sure how the "reasonable person" test is actually applied; however if you can show the Court that more than two actions were taken and they worried, annoyed or inconvenienced you to a significant degree (e.g. you were worried enough by 's calls to consider new ways you could pay that you would not have considered before) then I think there is a good case for an offence having been committed under the PFHA 1997.

 

Don't forget also that a Harrassment offence is also defined in s.40 of the Administration of Justice Act - in direct connection with attempts to recover debt.

 

Anyway - it is not for you to prove Offences... that is up to the Law Enforcement authorities... all you can do is report that you BELIEVE that you have been harrassed and relate the circumstances.

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The test in s.1 has two limbs - whether the victim felt harassed (subjective) and whether there was a course of harassment, which is the objective one (reasonable person test).

 

The reasonable person test would be applied by the mags when making their decision, the prosecution would allude that it has in their opening, although in closing the defence would submit that the test hasn't been met. It's down to the mags to decide.

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The Administration of Justice Act is the one that I would tend to refer to when contacting debt collection agencies about their behaviour, together with the Office of Fair Trading's Debt Collection Guidelines.

 

The real trouble with this sort of legislation is that it is criminal legislation and therefore not enforceable in the courts by the man in the street. For example, it's Trading Standards that enforce the Administration of Justice Act. The problem here is that most TS departments are so inadequately resourced that they are already stretched with their statutory duties and do not have the time to dedicate to problems such as this.

 

I'd always report any breaches of this legislation and the Debt Collection Guidelines to the OFT regardless.

 

The Communications Act I do not know that much about. Who is this enforced by?

Please note I'm not insured in this capacity, so if you need to, do get official legal advice.

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The test in s.1 has two limbs - whether the victim felt harassed (subjective) and whether there was a course of harassment, which is the objective one (reasonable person test).

 

The reasonable person test would be applied by the mags when making their decision, the prosecution would allude that it has in their opening, although in closing the defence would submit that the test hasn't been met. It's down to the mags to decide.

As you say harassment is subjective and in truth I do not really feel harassed by these people but I am happy that the "annoyance" and "inconvenience" are much easier to prove.

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I'm pretty sure that there's a regulation or statute somewhere which makes it illegal, once requested to cease and desist, for an organisation to contact you by telephone. Unfortunately it's not easy to find! Also I believe that the Communications Act 2003 only AMENDS the 1949 Act, not repeals it. Surely in this case you can still refer to the "father" Act?

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The Comms Act repealed the Telegraph Act 1899 in full. It repealed the following sections of the Wireless Telegraphy Act:

 

In section 1—

 

(a) subsection (1A);

(b) in subsection (4), the words “other than a television licence” and the words from “; and a television licence” onwards;

© subsections (6) and (7).

Section 1D(1), (2), (7) and (8).

Section 1F.

Section 2.

In section 3(1), the words after paragraph (d) from “and different” to “classes of case:”.

Section 9.

In section 10(2), the words after paragraph (b).

In section 11(1)—

(a) paragraph (i) of the proviso;

(b) in paragraph (ii) of the proviso the words “, and paragraph (i) of this proviso shall not apply”.

Section 14(1A)(e), (2) and (3)(b).

Section 15(4)© and the word “or” immediately preceding it.

Section 19(2A) and (9).

Schedule 2.

 

Oh wait, there's some other bits too but the site is giving me a headache! Was just trying to find whether the whole Act was repealed - it was certainly fairly heavily amended but it doesn't look as if it was repealed altogether.

Please note I'm not insured in this capacity, so if you need to, do get official legal advice.

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