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Wednesday, June 01, 2011

BBC Detector Vans Never Used in Court and they have no right to ask

From TV-licencing blog by way of Autonomous Mind
BBC Confirm Detector Vans Never Used in Court

Despite being very reluctant the BBC has finally confirmed what we all knew anyway - detector van/portable detector evidence has never been presented in court...
"I can confirm that TVL has not, to date, used detection evidence in Court.

"You may be interested to understand why this is the situation. Under TVL’s current prosecution process the presentation of detection evidence in court is unnecessary. This is because TVL uses detection evidence when applying for search warrants

 Which is disingenuous because:
its agents have no special rights and, like any other member of the public, rely on an implied right of access to reach the front door. The occupants of a visited property may deny an agent entry to the premises without cause and are under no obligation to answer any questions or enter into any conversation. If an agent has evidence that television is being watched or recorded illegally but is denied entry by the occupants so that (s)he cannot verify the suspicion without trespassing, then TV Licensing may apply to a magistrate for a search warrant, but the use of such warrants is rare. The BBC states that a search warrant would never be applied for solely on the basis of non-cooperation with TV Licensing and that in the event of being denied access to unlicensed property will use detection equipment rather than a search warrant. The assumption by TVL is always "guilty until proved innocent" and in 2008 the BBC Trust launched an enquiry in to intimidating behaviour by TVL.

According to Wikipedia (yes, I know) the law allows a fine of up to £1,000 be imposed on those successfully prosecuted and this figure is frequently publicised by TV Licensing to maximise deterrence. In reality, magistrates rarely impose the maximum fines allowed to them by law. During the year 2005-6, the average fine including costs was approximately £153, so only slightly more than the cost of a licence.

Moving further down the process... let's assume that TVL reckon that you have a working television in your home and one day there is a knock on the door. You open the door and the man from TVL introduces himself. Now, if you were to engage in conversation with him and/or invite him in to your home then they have succeeded in their task and they would attempt to sell you a licence and they may try a prosecution if you refused. However, what happens if you tell him to get off your property and close the door in his face? At that point he becomes no more important and have no more authority than a double-glazing salesman or peddler of religious virtues. If he leaves quietly then fair enough, but another visit will probably occur. If does not leave and bangs on the door, shouts through the letterbox, etc., then he is then guilty of aggravated trespass. From what I can find ( a person is guilty of aggravated trespass if he trespasses on another's land and carries out any act with the intention of disrupting a lawful activity being carried out on or adjacent to that land. That, to me, describes the banging on the door situation exactly.

So, what happens next? The research I have done suggests: Not Much.

The visits may continue, but by not responding to such visits there is not a lot TVL can do. Warning (almost threatening) letters will also be sent, but they can be ignored.
  If having a front door gives an "implied right of access" I suggest telling the person when you close the door on them that you are rescinding any implied right of access and that they are forbidden to return would deny them any right to return without a warrant. Whether you chose to explain to the gentleman that the BBC is a fascist propaganda organisation which by breaking its Charter duty to "balance" has vitiated it and that in any case under the European Convention of Human Rights it is forbidden to try and force you to pay for coverage which is unbalanced against your views depends on how argumentative you are. If you also choose to explain that every single person in the BBC or associated organisations is, through a "joint criminal conspiracy" to promote criminal activity is personally a lying, murdering, child raping, genocidal, organlegging Nazi war criminal, before wishing him good day, is again up to you.

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