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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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Thursday, 13 November 2014

TV Licensing: Hartlepool Search Warrant Update

In December we wrote about the case of YouTube user Binary Genius, who was the victim of a malicious TV Licensing search warrant execution.

We regret to report that he was convicted of obstructing the warrant when his case was heard at Teesside Magistrates' Court last Friday, 7th November 2014. He was fined £200, had to pay TV Licensing prosecution costs of £375 and a victim surcharge of £20. TV Licensing had sought £750 prosecution costs, but fortunately the Magistrates disagreed with that request.

During the trial, TV Licensing presented footage taken from our YouTube channel.

Given the case has now drawn to a conclusion Binary Genius is happy for us to publish his real name, Mick Oldfield.

It is noted that TV Licensing found no evidence whatsoever of unlicensed TV reception at Mick's home on the evening they executed the warrant. This negative result again raises questions about the evidence TV Licensing presented in order to obtain a warrant in the first place. The information for the warrant was laid on oath by Capita Court Presenter Tony Kaminskas on 22nd November 2014.

By way of a reminder, two TV Licensing goons - Terry Docherty of Sunderland and Burgess Nasr of Marske - attended Mick's home on the evening of 19th December 2013. They were in possession of a warrant granted under section 366 of the Communications Act 2003, which gave them legal authority to enter the property, search for and test any television receiver found there.


Mick, who was clearly very shaken by TV Licensing's surprise appearance, was reluctant to allow access to the property, but eventually they managed to talk their way over the threshold and were able to conduct their search.

We wrote at length about the search in our previous article. Even now, almost a year later, we are sickened at the tactics employed by Docherty and Nasr as they rummaged around for non-existent evidence in Mick's living room.

The pair desperately searched for the merest flicker of a TV programme that would lead to Mick's conviction for TV licence evasion. Finding nothing, they attempted to tongue-tie and bamboozle him into a providing a false "confession". At one stage Docherty, a failed Conservative election candidate, expressed a willingness to selectively quote Mick's words out of context.

Clearly disappointed at their vexatious search drawing a blank, TV Licensing decided to pursue the consolation prize of obstruction charges instead. Experience shows that TV Licensing is quite happy with obstruction as an outcome, because it keeps their rarer than hen's teeth search warrants in the public eye. There was no public interest in pursuing obstruction charges in Mick's case: TV Licensing had already entered his home on a falsehood, so could have shown humility by slinking back into the gutters where they belong. Instead, as in the famous case of Michael Shakespeare, they decided to make an example of an innocent man, whose home they had no business violating in the first place.

For all our disappointment at the outcome of Mick's case, it does serve as a valuable learning point. Had Mick allowed Docherty and Nasr immediate access, he would now have humiliating video footage of them searching for a non-existent TV receiver. He would also still have the best part of £600 in his back pocket.

Reflecting on his experience, Mick told us the following: "We are very unhappy with the court's decision, but feel a sense of relief that finally we know where we stand.

"It is not easy to represent yourself in court, but if you get the chance, and the charge is not too serious, I highly recommend doing it. You will start to really understand how the lower courts are being manipulated by private interests.

"My advice to anyone faced with a TV Licensing search warrant is to video everything and stay calm. If they ask for your help checking your equipment, then you should help them otherwise you run the risk of obstruction charges.

"My family would like to thank everyone from the TV Licensing Blog, the TVLicenceResistance.info forums and all the other sites that have offered kind words of support and advice."

TV Licensing search warrants are exceptionally rare. In the extremely unlikely event that TV Licensing do appear with a search warrant, the occupier should allow them immediate and unhindered access to the property. The occupier is advised to film them conducting the search and provide an appropriate commentary for the benefit of the camera.

15 comments:

Anonymous said...

It would appear that the defendant didn't have a lawyer. if he had, he may not have been found guilty of such an appalling mockery of justice. there's no compunction to assist those people, no law. neither did the defendant obstruct the warrant (I watched video), he merely questioned the validity of it, along with, declining to assist in his own persecution. These magistrates courts are simply kangaroo courts, set up to deal with the lowest common denominator, usually trivial offences. magistrates are usually there as a symbolic nature, and usually know nothing of law. Those courts are a mockery, unfortunately, they mock those that are unable to pay for a decent defence. it's all a con, as is the BBC Licence/Tax.

TV Licensing Watch said...

"It is noted that TV Licensing found no evidence whatsoever of unlicensed TV reception at Mick's home on the evening they executed the warrant."

If those two TV Licensing™ scumbags were able to establish that there was no evidence, as stated above, then clearly the warrant was not obstructed.

It's up to, Binary Genius, of course, but if he can get a copy of the unredacted version of TV Licensing Visiting Procedures (assuming he doesn't have it) it may be worth considering an appeal.

Binary Genius quote:
"If they ask for your help checking your equipment, then you should help them otherwise you run the risk of obstruction charges."

Once access is gained it is up to TV Licensing™ to examine and test not the householder. All our copies of such warrants makes it clear.

Maryon Jeane said...

It's horrid that this has happened but, unfortunately, Magistrates courts can act on obstruction of search warrants and are predisposed to do this as - in general terms and of course not relevant in a case like this - it's very important that search warrants are taken seriously because they are one of the police's main weapons in their fight against real villains.

However, Mick can still fight back by taking TV Licensing to court for harassment and misrepresentation (lying) in their application for a warrant. This would cause them to spend a lot of time and money and constitute a real nuisance to them. It would also generate publicity (Mick could give interviews to the local press etc., and also of course alert them when the case was to come to court) and reverse the damage done both to Mick and to the cause of being legally licence-free.

I know it's hard to rally again after a blow like this - but it will give Mick the revenge he needs - and get his money back.

Anonymous said...

The BBC funding paedophilia don't see them being charged!!

Anonymous said...

Shouldn't BBC be obligated to provide you with a transmission jammer of some kind so you can opt out of their licence.

Fred Bear said...

It just shows that even legally-licence free people need to be careful when dealing with these 'officers' when they turn up on the doorstep.

The aim of these unwanted visitors is to earn some commission by getting people to incriminate themselves regardless of whether they need a licence or not.

In general they prey on vulnerable people, which is why most of their victims are on benefits despite the fact that the BBC's own publications show that people on benefits are no more likely to be TV licence evaders than people with professional jobs. However, withdrawing right of access is also likely to attract the attention of these 'officers' a fact that should be considered before making a WOIRA instruction.

It is important that legally-licence free people know the law and are careful not to inadvertently incriminate themselves.

Anonymous said...


Contrary to the comment above there IS a law that compels someone to assist goons in searching your home, s366 of the Communications Act states

"Where a person has the power by virtue of a warrant under this section to examine or test any television receiver found on any premises, or in any vehicle, it shall be the duty—
(a) of a person who is on the premises or in the vehicle, and
(b) in the case of a vehicle, of a person who has charge of it or is present when it is searched,
to give the person carrying out the examination or test all such assistance as that person may reasonably require for carrying it out.

(8) A person is guilty of an offence if he—
(a) intentionally obstructs a person in the exercise of any power conferred
on that person by virtue of a warrant under this section; or
(b) without reasonable excuse, fails to give any assistance that he is under a duty to give by virtue of subsection (7)."

Unfortunately this was handled very badly by the occupier.

In the video he states that he only needs a TV licence if he uses a TV to receive live broadcasts. He stated they couldn't prove he was using it. Under s363(1) of the Communications Act 2003 you also need to have a TV Licence if you have TV receiving equipment INSTALLED. There is no burden to prove it is being used. The fact that it is installed is enough to prove an offence.

During the video the occupier admitted that his PC had the capability of receiving live broadcasts, that is enough of an admission of an offence, by refusing to allow the goons to inspect the computer he is in violation of the Communications Act 2093 s366(8)(a).

It is no surprise therefore that a court found him guilty of obstruction.

HOWEVER, this is where it is a shame he didn't engage the services of a solicitor.

Being under investigation and being interviewed regarding a criminal offence, TWICE the occupier asked for legal advice. At that stage the interview should have been suspended while the suspect obtained legal advice.

By continuing the interview the police and the goons denied the suspect his legal right to consult a solictor. They continued regardless of his request, and I'm sure that is a gross violation of the Police and Criminal Evidence Act 1984 Code C (s6)

ALSO, it appears from the video that the admission regarding the computer being capable of receiving live broadcasts was made BEFORE the occupier was cautioned. If that was the case that admission would be inadmissible as evidence.



Anonymous said...

I didn't read anywhere in the blog post that Mick had demanded a copy of the search warrant deposition. Why did he not ask for this (providing he knew of it's existance)?

Also, just because a bent Magistrate has found him "guilty", there's no stopping Mick from taking this further and having said guilty verdict overturned by a real Judge.

Anonymous said...

Might be worth an appeal
maybe a collection to help, and a pro bono lawyer. What a travesty

admin said...

Regrettably we have had to remove a comment from this post.

Please think very carefully before typing and submitting comments here. Remember that we in no way condone or encourage any sort of illegal activity. That has been our stance from the outset.

TheKnightsShield said...

There are 2 problems with that idea:

1) Such a thing would cost money to make and or make available to households.

2) It wouldn't take much to "deactivate" such a device, so handing them out would probably require some sort of check every now and again to ensure it was still working correctly, including maintenance and battery replacement. Sound familiar?

Anonymous said...

Anonymous said "Under s363(1) of the Communications Act 2003 you also need to have a TV Licence if you have TV receiving equipment INSTALLED. There is no burden to prove it is being used. The fact that it is installed is enough to prove an offence".

You do not need a licence if you have equipment that is simply "installed" or "capable" of receiving.

Quote from TVL. "You need to be covered by a valid TV Licence if you WATCH OR RECORD TV AS IT'S BEING BROADCAST. This includes the use of devices such as a computer, laptop, mobile phone or DVD/video recorder." (My capitalisation to highlight)

That's it. That's the law. That's TVL's own words. It's as simple as that.
http://www.tvlicensing.co.uk/check-if-you-need-one?WT.ac=home_plt_check

It does not say "You need to be covered by a valid TV Licence if you watch or record TV as it's being broadcast, **or your equipment is *installed* or "capable" of receiving.** This includes the use of devices such as a computer, laptop, mobile phone or DVD/video recorder."

TV Licensing Watch said...

"In the video he states that he only needs a TV licence if he uses a TV to receive live broadcasts. He stated they couldn't prove he was using it. Under s363(1) of the Communications Act 2003 you also need to have a TV Licence if you have TV receiving equipment INSTALLED. There is no burden to prove it is being used. The fact that it is installed is enough to prove an offence."

Could hardly believe our eyes when we read that. Just to point out that Mr Oldfield had audio-visual equipment installed and he wasn't prosecuted for TV licence evasion.

Anonymous said...

Naming and shaming the two tvl bullies is fantastic but lets not forget oswald norton who applied for the warrent and was filmed assalting a man in the street at a later date for filming his car reg. mick was right not to allow him i
nto his home

Anonymous said...

Installed would mean it has an Ariel plugged in, remove the aerial before you let them in ergo not installed to receive