COURTS DEALING WITH TV LICENCE OFFENCES

COURTS DEALING WITH TV LICENCE OFFENCES

Somebody seems to have pulled a fast one: TV licence offence cases are now held in centralised TV licensing courts, rather than where the offences occurred. This slow and quiet centralisation means suspected evaders have to go further afield to defend their rights. The fact that someone living near Land’s End, for example, has to do a 340 mile round trip to Weymouth Magistrates Court, is, to me, akin to a denial of justice.

But there is more. Technically, everyone is considered innocent until proven guilty. However, this centralisation of courts appears to be justified by the unwritten understanding that TV licence hearings are in name only as there is an expectation that a guilty plea will have been entered. If a TV licence officer filled a form, the person must be guilty of evasion because everybody must watch live television, thus shifting the burden of proof onto the individual.

Having decided to expose these sly shenanigans, I started by sending an FOI to the Ministry of Justice, asking for a list of courts dealing with TV licence.

3rd UPDATE
I also sent an FOI to the BBC itself, not hoping for much. But lo and behold, they did send me a list of magistrates’ courts that have “heard TV Licensing cases since 1st January 2015”. When I realised they had listed courts that do not deal with TV licence, I asked for courts that have heard adjourned cases (which have been transferred to them from a different court) to be removed, they cleaned up the list, removing no less than 50 names on the list. Here is their final list (previous list and previous updates have been deleted)

Court Name:

Aldershot

Antrim

Armagh

Ballymena

Banbury

Bangor At Newtownards

Barkingside Magistrates

Barnsley

Bedford

Belfast

Beverley And The Wolds

Bexley

Birmingham

Bolton

Bridgend

Brighton

Burton Upon Trent

Bury

Bury St Edmunds

Calderdale

Cambridge

Canterbury

Cardiff

Cheltenham

Chester

Chesterfield

Chichester

Colchester

Coleraine

Coventry

Craigavon

Croydon Magistrates Court

Doncaster

Dover

Downpatrick

Dungannon

Dyfed Powys

Ealing

East Lancashire

Eastbourne

Enfield

Enniskillen

Fareham

Feltham

Folkestone And Hythe

Grantham

Grimsby

Gwent & South Wales

Hammersmith

Harrogate

Hartlepool

Hastings

High Wycombe

Highbury Corner

Huntingdon

Ipswich

Isle Of Man

Kirklees

Lavender Hill

Leeds

Leicester

Limavady

Lincoln

Lincoln District

Lisburn

Liverpool City

Llanelli

Londonderry

Lowestoft

Luton

Magherafelt

Manchester City

Mansfield

Medway

Milton Keynes

Newry

Newtownards

North Durham

North Somerset

North Tyneside

Northallerton

Northampton

Northern Derbyshire

Norwich

Nottingham

Nuneaton

Omagh

Plymouth

Pontypridd

Prestatyn

Reading

Redditch

Redhill

Rotherham

Salford

Scarborough

Sevenoaks

Sheffield

Slough

Slough Law Courts

South East Wiltshire

Southern Derbyshire

Stockport

Strabane

Stroud

Swansea

Tameside

Teesside

Telford & Bridge North

Thames

Uxbridge

Waltham Forest

Warrington

Watford

West Cornwall

West Cumbria

Westminster

Weymouth Wigan & Leigh

Willesden

Wirral

Wirral Borough

Worksop

Wrexham Maelor

York

(this list excludes Scotland because cases are usually heard by a Procurator Fiscal)

In order to build that damned list myself, I emailed all the Magistrate courts in England and Wales. Only some of them contacted me to confirm that they do deal with TV licence offence. Shame on the others.

 COUNTY/POLICE FORCE AREA COURT AND ADDRESS FREQUENCY
Avon and Somerset  North Somerset Court House, St Georges, Weston-Super-Mare, Avon BS22 7BB
Bedfordshire
Cambridgeshire
Cheshire Warrington Magistrates Court, Arpley Street, Warrington, Cheshire WA1 1LQ monthly
Cleveland
Cumbria
Derbyshire
Dorset, Devon and Cornwall Weymouth Magistrate Court, Westwey Road, Weymouth, Dorset DT4 8BS
Durham Peterlee Court House, St Aidans Way, Peterlee, County Durham SR8 1QR fortnightly
Dyfed-Powys
Essex
Gloucestershire
Greater Manchester
Gwent
Hampshire Fareham Magistrates Court, Winston Churchill Ave, Portsmouth, Hampshire PO1 2DQ fortnightly
West Hampshire Magistrates’ Court, 100 the Avenue, Southampton, Hampshire, SO17 1EY
Hertfordshire
Humberside Beverley East Yorkshire Magistrates Court, Champney Rd, Beverley, North Humberside HU17 9EJ fortnightly
Kent Medway Magistrates, Court House, The Brook, Chatham ME4 4JZ monthly
Sevenoaks Magistrates Court, Morewood Cl, London Rd, Sevenoaks, Kent TN13 2HU monthly
Lancashire Blackburn Magistrates’ Court, Northgate, Blackburn, Lancashire BB2 1AA weekly (Mondays)

option for a trial to be heard at a Courthouse within Lancashire near where the defendant lives, upon request.

Wigan & Leigh Magistrates’ Court Darlington St, Wigan, Lancashire WN1 1DW Thursday
Leicestershire Leicester Magistrates, 15 Pocklingtons Walk, Leicester LE1 6BT monthly
Lincolnshire
London (Metropolitan Police) Highbury Corner Magistrates Court, 51 Holloway Rd, London N7 8JA forthnightly
Lavender Hill magistrates’ court, 176A Lavender Hill, London SW11 1JU monthly
Merseyside Wirral Magistrates, Chester Street,Birkenhead, Merseyside CH41 5HW
Norfolk
North Wales
North Yorkshire
Northamptonshire Northamptonshire Magistrates Court, Campbell Square, Northampton NN1 3EB
Northumbria
Nottinghamshire
South Wales Merthyr Court, Glebeland Place, Merthyr Tydfil, South Wales CF47 8BH
South Yorkshire Doncaster Magistrates Court, College Road, Doncaster, South Yorkshire DN1 3HS
Staffordshire  Burton-upon-trent magistrates Court, Horninglow Street, Burton upon Trent, Staffordshire DE14 1PA
Suffolk
Surrey Croydon Magistrates’ Court, Barclay Road, Croydon, Surrey CR9 3NG weekly (Fridays)
Sussex Hastings Magistrates Court, Law Courts / Bohemia Rd, Hastings TN34 1ND Every fourth Monday of a month
Thames Valley Reading Magistrates Court, Castle St, Reading, Berkshire RG1 7TQ
Warwickshire Nuneaton Magistrates Court, Vicarage Street, Nuneaton, Warwickshire CV11 4JU weekly
West Mercia
West Midlands
West Yorkshire
Wiltshire

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

At the end of the letter from the BBC, Rupinder Panesar, Freedom of Information Advisor, TV Licensing Management Team, added:

If you plan to publish this information online, please include the statement overleaf: “A TV Licensing spokesperson said: “TV Licensing prefer not to prosecute and only send cases to court as a last resort. We know some people may find it difficult to pay but we do all we can to help, including offering weekly cash payment schemes. TV Licence evasion cases account for a significantly smaller proportion of court time than their numbers might suggest – 0.3% in the most recent data available as noted in the Perry Review of licence fee enforcement. Please see page 10 for details.”

As the BBC quote omit the first two sentences of a paragraph, I would like to reproduce them too, for balance:

“In 2013, there were 178,332 prosecutions for failure to hold a TV licence. This represented approximately 11.5% of all defendants proceeded against before the Magistrates’ Court.”

 

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6 thoughts on “COURTS DEALING WITH TV LICENCE OFFENCES

  1. I pay TV license simply because I have no other option – I cannot choose for it not too be on my TV list. If I could remove it from it and not pay I really would. At the moment I am forced to pay it

    Like

  2. I see no point in having TV licence i only use catch up TV .I am angry that though i was only using tv without cable they still sent me to court and done time in prison

    Like

  3. This isnt true
    “A TV Licensing spokesperson said: “TV Licensing prefer not to prosecute and only send cases to court as a last resort.

    We had purchased a tv licence and back in febuary had a visit from tvl with a search warrant (seems they lied on oath to get one). Didn’t actually believe it was a real warrant so sent them on their way, turns out it was real and now they have summonsed us to court for obstruction of a warrant!
    I feel like cancelling the tv licence (which was actually valid from the day before they applied for the warrant) as its going to be an expensive long day in court they tell us

    Liked by 1 person

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