Why we're here:
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.

If you use equipment to receive live broadcast TV programmes, or to watch or download on-demand programmes via the BBC iPlayer, then the law requires you to have a licence and we encourage you to buy one.

If you've just arrived here from a search engine, then you might find our Quick Guide helpful.

Friday, 23 August 2013

TV Licensing Enfarcement: Failed Obstruction Charges

TV Licensing has allowed one of their most high-profile opponents to escape prosecution for search warrant obstruction.

Before proceeding, let us reassure readers that TV Licensing search warrants are exceptionally rare. They can only be granted, in theory, if TV Licensing is unable to gain voluntary access to a property where they have credible evidence that TV receiving equipment is being used without a licence. Anyone that does not receive TV programme services should never need to worry about the threat of a search warrant, despite TV Licensing widely publicising their use.

 TV Licensing visit the Allen home on 16th December 2012.
L-R Capita's Lanre Coker-Ojo, Ian Doyle and Police Sergeant Kingsnorth. 

On Sunday, 16th December 2012, employees of TV Licensing contractor Capita Business Services Ltd. visited Danny Allen's property with the intention of executing a search warrant granted under section 366(1) of the Communications Act 2003.

The snatch squad, headed up by hapless Goon Master General Ian Doyle, was forced to leave empty-handed when members of the Allen family point blank refused to let them in. To add insult to injury the entire episode was captured on video and uploaded to YouTube. The 20-minute video, which is mirrored on several video sharing sites, graphically illustrates Doyle's frustration as his every utterance is ignored. It has been viewed 70,000 times on Danny's YouTube channel alone. See our earlier post for more information about the botched search attempt.

Entertaining as Danny's video was, there was genuine concern at the time that Capita may have decided to take further action on the matter of search warrant obstruction. Past experience - most notably the Shakespeare case - has shown they vindictively target outspoken opponents. There is little doubt they would have relished the prospect of knocking Danny down a peg or two.

Those concerns have now evaporated as Capita, with its massed army of overpaid lawyers, has now missed the legal deadline to pursue any obstruction charges. Whether this was a deliberate omission, accidental oversight or downright incompetence is irrelevant - the fact of the matter is that Capita's lethargic response means that Danny cannot now face prosecution.

It is an offence under section 366(8) of the Communications Act 2003 to obstruct a warrant granted under section 366(1). However, because that offence can only be tried summarily, e.g. at the Magistrates Court, there are strict time limits in which the prosecution has to lay information before the court. This time limit expires 6 months after the commission of the offence, which meant 14th June 2013 was the crucial date.

For reasons known only to themselves Capita actually started proceedings a few days too late, which means the summons Danny eventually received, pictured below, was completely worthless.

Summons for the offence of obstructing a search warrant.

Welcome as Capita's inaction is, questions are now being raised about their motives for allowing Danny to slip through the net. Given that most A-level law students understand the time limits that apply to the disposal of summary cases, why have Capita's lawyer's - who presumably have slightly more legal expertise - seemingly made such an elementary procedural mistake?

Having experienced Capita incompetence on several previous occasions, there is something that doesn't feel quite right about this one. Lowly as we rate them, we doubt even they'd be inept enough to "forget" about taking action against Danny - particularly as several anti-TV Licensing websites, including our own, have gloated about their humiliation ever since.

Court letter confirming that Capita were too late to proceed with prosecution.

We are now of the opinion that Capita has deliberately chosen to miss the 6 month deadline, because that outcome is slightly less embarrassing than having to face Danny in court. They can be entirely confident that had Danny been hauled before the Magistrates he would have vocally challenged the legitimacy of their search warrant. He would have told the Magistrates quite clearly that TV Licensing could never have "detected" TV receiving equipment in his property, because he doesn't have any. He would have challenged TV Licensing's detection evidence that they claim asserted the presence of such equipment.

We can picture the exchange going something like this: "How then, Your Worships, could Capita's [insert silly tart's name] have told you, on oath, that non-existent TV receiving equipment had been detected in my property with a 97% confidence factor that a possible broadcast was being received?"

Answers on a postcard please.

It's a good thing there's 3% of wiggle room in the accuracy of "detection equipment" for such eventualities!

We are grateful to our noble friend TJoK for his tremendous efforts gathering material this article. Over the past few weeks he has done a lot of leg work, which we are merely presenting here for public scrutiny. A well deserved hat-tip in his direction.

Edit (16/11/13): We have just posted the final outcome of Danny Allen's search warrant obstruction case.

2 comments:

Danny Allen said...

Hi everyone this is Danny here,I would like to thank everyone who as shown support & Matt who is one of life's good un's..Let's now see what TVLicence/Capita are going to do now,I must say IAN DOYLE is totally incompetent from start to finish..i bet TVLicence/Capita will now be using This Video as a training exercise on how not to be a twat like IAN DOYLE..My advice is DO NOT have any contact with these people under any circumstances, I wish you all well on all the hard work which as been put into highlighting these corrupt BBC...NO FEAR ;-)

admin said...

Hi Danny and thanks for dropping by. Thank you for giving such a complete insight into your story. It should help prepare anyone else on the receiving end TVL's spite.