The propaganda empire strikes back
A feeble attempt to set aside my default judgement against BBC TV Licensing
It’s one thing for a protestor to make a grammatical error with an apostrophe, quite another for a subcontractor of the BBC to make false or misleading representations to a court in order to evade accountability for their paymaster’s actions. You can read more about my legal battle with TV Licensing, a BBC brand, in this previous article.
I have received a notice from Capita Business Services Ltd, the outsourcer who operate TV Licensing, that they have applied to a court to set aside my default judgement against them. The main text is below, but you don’t need to read the tiny print — I have scanned it and will deconstruct their sophistry below.
Now, let’s pull this apart piece by piece to see how they use dirty tricks to evade justice.
Is this a civil or criminal matter?
In their capacity as TV Licensing Capita have a statutory remit to investigate and enforce the television licence system. Part 4 of the Communications Act 2003 creates the criminal offence of using a television receiver without a licence.
By introducing the matter of criminality into a civil case, this is either implicitly accusing me of being an evader and law breaker (which is libel), or is irrelevant and an attempt to mislead the court into ignoring the central matter, which is whether I have an enforceable contract for correspondence services rendered to TV Licensing. The Communications Act 2003 has no relevance or bearing on whether I have a valid and enforceable correspondence contract with TV Licensing.
Once I have asked for no further correspondence outside of contract, there is nothing more to investigate. Absent any evidence of lawbreaking by myself, there is nothing further to enforce, either. TV Licensing have publicly said in the past that they are moving from a law enforcement to a sales-led ethos. Any acting beyond that point is not a lawful part of the activities specified in the Communications Act 2003, and falls instead entirely under my contract for professional correspondence services with TV Licensing.
This is therefore a misleading representation to the court.
Is there an obligation to respond?
TV Licensing send a suite of letters to unlicensed addresses explaining that if a television receiver is used to watch or record programmes as they are being shown on TV or on an online television service (i.e. a linear or 'live' service), or to watch or download BBC programmes on iPlayer, then a licence is required. The letters also ask the occupier to let us know if a licence isn't needed at the address and provide free to use links to allow the occupier to do so. TV Licensing will then stop contact for up to two years. The Claimant has repeatedly refused to confirm the licensable status of his address.
The BBC has stated in a Freedom of Information request that…
There is no legal obligation to respond to TV Licensing communications, however, if no response is received from an address, the tone of the letters progressively becomes stronger to encourage a reply.
I have no more obligation to engage with TV Licensing than I do with the licensing of wild animals kept in my home as pets, radioactive material stored in my basement, or the piloting of helicopters. None of these matters are relevant to me personally, and lacking any obligation I cannot “refuse” to act. I have no more “refused” to confirm the licensable status of my address than I have “refused” to get a lobotomy.
There is no difference in law between someone who has made such a confirmation and one who has declined the offer, as long as it is honest. Using coercion once you have declined to participate is unlawful. TV Licensing have in writing admitted to using extortion and blackmail to get members of the public to submit to their demands. There is a common law right to peaceful enjoyment of your home, and TV Licensing are trespassing against this.
This breach of the peace is the basis of my damages claim. This claim to presumption of guilt should be ignored, so my claim stands.
Is their conduct lawful and reasonable?
The Defendant will assert that they were acting in their capacity as TV Licensing and that the course of conduct complained of was undertaken in line with their statutory remit to investigate and prosecute offences of unlicensed use. As such the Defendant will assert that their actions were necessary and reasonable and not a course of conduct which would amount to harassment; and in any event they are afforded a statutory defence to any claim of harassment pursuant to Section 1(3)(a) of the Prevention fromHarassment Act 1997 on the basis that such conduct was carried out for the purpose of the prevention and detection of crime.
This is a misleading statement to the court since the letters sent by TV Licensing to me are unsolicited policy statements, as well as false statements putting words into my mouth that require correction. This cannot be a function of the lawful licensing of televisions or the prevention of crime. It therefore cannot fall under their legally protected public activities. We are essentially facing an ultra vires bully of anyone who dissents or resists, and I just happen to have had the sense to offer a contract for “being bullied as a service”.
Furthermore, the law is clear: Parliament has given the BBC powers to enforce the licensing, as specified in Section 366, "Powers to enforce TV Licensing", of the Communications Act 2003. This allows them to collect evidence of licence evasion, present that evidence to a magistrate, and obtain a warrant and search the premises. No other powers are mandated, and in particular they are not mandated to harass people who request no further contact and where there is no evidence of evasion.
I have a right to privacy in my own home. I also have a right to presumption of innocence. My withdrawal of their implied permission to send me frequent intimidatory letters, and offer them a contract if they wish to continue correspondence with me, does not interfere with their overall statutory function. The context matters, and there is no blanket immunity against illegitimate harassment just because some other part of your organisation is involved in crime prevention.
I have made my trespass against the person claim under common law, not under the Prevention of Harassment Act 1997, so this assertion can be ignored. The implication of their argument is that they have an unbounded right to attempt to coerce the public into either buying a television license or making a statement. There is no lawful obligation to do either, which makes TV Licensing the criminal lawbreaker here.
Is there an implied contract?
Furthermore the claim for breach of contract is unsustainable. There is no implied contract for professional correspondence services. A TV licence is subject to public law and not private law considerations and there has been no intention to enter legal relations with the Claimant.
The matter under question is whether I have a private contract for correspondence services with TV Licensing, which is distinct from them attempting to sell me a license for a public service television. This effort to misframe the matter is a deliberate attempt to mislead the court. If an agent of TV Licensing visited your home and caused accidental damage, would the court accept that no private liability could be established because the licensing of televisions falls under public law? Obviously not.
Their actions, which trump their words, have repeatedly shown their intent to contract. They have given no specific reason in law why we do not have a contract. In contrast, I have explained in detail why every aspect of a valid implied contract has been satisfied. Their argument here essentially amounts to a denial of my right to contract with them, and a restatement of their unwillingness to pay when they have enjoyed the services rendered. That they have failed to mount a defence is unfortunate, and this effort to set the judgement aside is an effort to end-run the judicial process that tests facts and law.
Is the claim nonsensical?
The claims of theft and trespass against the person are nonsensical and undeveloped.
I have never mentioned theft in any of our correspondence, and therefore this is a false statement to the court. On this basis alone the application for set aside should be dismissed.
Article 8 of the Human Rights Act defines a Right to Privacy from the State, and the BBC is a quasi-state body. I am asserting that same right, but under common law, and it is not a nonsense to do so. Indeed, given that I have withdrawn implied right of access, the argument that claiming damages for trespass against the person is “nonsensical” is itself absurd.
TV Licensing have previously paid out for a similar claim in 2014, albeit with a default judgement, and this makes it very hard for them to justify why it is nonsensical in this instance. Furthermore, there are other comparable claims (e.g. Richard Herman for cold calling) that have been successful in court.
Did the dog really eat their homework?
Unfortunately we did not receive the Claim form prior to the Default Judgement being made, and have still not received the Claim form to this day. On 7th February 2023 the "Judgment for Claim (in default)" was received and as soon as was practical following receipt of this Order we have applied to set aside the judgment in accordance with CPR 13.3(2). Had the Claim form been received we would have replied immediately with a robust defence.
TV Licensing have a habit of “losing” any claims that might create a precedent, or failing to lodge a defence:
When “Phil” got a payout from TV Licensing in 2014 for harassment they failed to respond to the claim, making the same excuse.
When Haydn Welch sued TV Licensing in 2023 (as reported in The Express) “They ignored the summons and subsequently a judgment was found in my favour. Then they ignored the judgment and failed to pay up. That's when I instructed bailiffs to recover my £350, which they did by phone.”
The most recent public statistics for cases against TV Licensing are as follows:
2019: 3 claims dismissed; 5 claims settled.
2020: 3 claims dismissed; 3 default judgments against TV Licensing*; 2 claims settled.
2021: 1 claim dismissed; 1 default judgment against TV Licensing *; 2 claims settled; 1 claim ongoing.
So of the 20 cases completed, 4 were default judgements. It is reasonable to presume that TV Licensing does not face a 20% rate of postal loss, and this is a policy decision not to defend cases. They had as many settled cases as default judgements — meaning 50% of the time they failed to defend cases that they were at risk of losing.
According to Royal Mail's published statistics for the 2020-2021 financial year, the "mail integrity rate" for all mail, including first and second class, in the UK was 98.6%, which means that over 98% of mail arrived without incident. This includes all wrongly written addresses, stolen mail, and failed deliveries to domestic premises. TV Licensing has its own postcode, and is a professional entity solely dedicated to administration. Therefore the loss rate for delivering claims to TV Licensing is likely to be well under 1%, and possibly as low as 1 in 1,000 (or better).
All of my letters as Claimant were delivered correctly, the judgement was delivered correctly, and yet somehow the claim itself was conveniently “lost”. If the Defendant has had a historic problem with mail delivery of court claims, internally or externally, then it is incumbent on them to resolve it. The court has automated methods of printing and issuing claims, so errors will be low. On the balance of probabilities it is implausible that this claim has just disappeared; given the pattern of refusing to respond to “difficult” claims, it is more likely to be an effort to avoid having to face a proper court hearing which establishes a legal precedent for the right to not be bullied, and to receive compensation for being bullied.
As such this claim is an abuse of process, and quite likely mendacious and potentially involves a criminal attempt to pervert the course of justice.
Does the claim have no merit and have no chance of success?
For these reasons the Claim has no merit and does not have a reasonable prospect of success.
TV Licensing have had an opportunity to defend their case, and have failed to take advantage of it. There is a consistent pattern of them making false or misleading statements to this court in every aspect. They also have a pattern of failing to defend cases that might result in bad publicity or set an unwanted legal precedent. Given their unlawful and unconscionable behaviour, this is quite understandable. Their claim of having lost the claim is not credible — given their history of “losing” or failing to defend claims in similar circumstances.
Based on the evidence presented, they neither have a reasonable excuse for why they failed to defend the action
Justice says the judgement should stand
Accordingly the Defendant believes it is in the interests of justice to allow an application to set aside judgment under CPR 13.2(1)(a) on the basis that it has a real prospect of successfully defending the claim or in the alternative 13.3(1)(ii) that Defendant should be allowed to defend the claim.
This is where it gets interesting — if they are allowed to have it set aside in totality then it is essentially a license to behave as they see fit, and are above the law, and unbound by due process. But if they have to defend it as Capital Business Services Ltd, they are now in trouble, as they will have to justify their position in public.
So what and what next?
I can only spend days research this subject, writing it up, and fighting the corruption because you economically support me as a campaigner and dissident — so thank you to those who support me via Substack, SubscribeStar, or Donorbox. For the ordinary person, this is far too much trouble for the outcome. Once you start down this path, you have to be willing to keep going no matter what it takes. If necessary I will take this to a court where I risk costs and bankruptcy, because I cannot let those who enable the funding of genocidal propaganda to go unchallenged.
If I had to engage in a “normal” job and do “normal” housework outside of it and have “normal” ways of restoring myself via recreation… I could not do this, and at the same time fight the corrupt council, plus my greedy landlord, and still stay sane. This is not a trivial matter, as the BBC are (rightly) accused of complicity in (attempted) genocide, so their funding has to be cut off. Figuring all this out takes hours of calls with friends and endless research. It is also emotionally exhausting, because it is “dirty” — you have to force yourself to wade through the “muck” of those with “low vibes”.
In doing this research I have uncovered some really quite eye-opening things, and I am keeping some of my ammo dry for another day. Let’s just say that being arrogant and stupid can get large and lazy organisations into trouble, especially when confronted with a “combat autist” who will never stop until every little piece of the information puzzle fits perfectly. Capita Business Services Ltd have made a really big misstep, but don’t know it yet.
This is about to get really interesting.
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"This is about to get interesting" may be the best mantra for what is ahead, with many thanks to you for your tenacity and diligence. We are with you all the way!
What a fun ride it has been to follow this story. Loved all of it, especially under the heading “Is there an implied contract?” Martin explains “Their argument here essentially amounts to a denial of my right to contract with them, and a restatement of their unwillingness to pay when they have enjoyed the services rendered.” I love how he inserts little snippets of humor in a serious story to poke fun at them. I mean they ignored his warnings!