Being taken to court - CAPITA false claims

I'm being taken to court in January due to not paying for a TV licence, and I don't know what to do next. 

At the start of the year an enforcement officer came to my door, normally I'd close the door on them but he'd just woken me up and due to neurological disabilities I wasn't thinking straight.

As far as I was aware I still had a TV licence, but I was behind on payments due to disabilities - I can only pay via payment card but cognitive issues mean I struggle to keep track. If I fall behind on payments the card is cancelled so I have to reapply for a payment card, which is a struggle in itself as I can't use a phone to apply and have to fight via email to get one, although on this occasion I believe they hadn't sent a new payment card yet.

I told the enforcement officer that I had a TV licence but was waiting on a payment card. The enforcement officer told me that if I answered some questions he could get that set-up for me; it would renew my TV licence and I'd get a payment card sent out. Seems he lied.

A short time after I decided I was sick of all this nonsense and so I got myself a Firestick so I don't watch live TV, thus no need to pay for a TV licence.

Next thing I know I had a letter saying I would be sent to court for watching TV without a licence, I logged a not guilty appeal online as I don't watch live TV. But a few weeks ago I received a letter telling me I'll be due at the court in January.

Looking at the form the enforcement officer filled in he's lied, claiming I said I didn't have a TV licence and was watching BBC. But he's also lied to me about what the form was for, I had no idea I was signing something that was going to land me in court!

I admit I messed up by engaging with the enforcement officee, but my disabilities are a factor as I have a bad memory, no concept of time, and I was caught off guard by this guy. I honestly believe he took advantage of this.

The local citizens advice is closed, I've tried debt charities but they require telephone consultation to go through all debts - a lot of fuss, but also I can't use a telephone anyway. The letter says to contact a lawyer but my sole income is ESA so I can't afford that.

Someone has suggested I write to CAPITA to appeal, but I'd struggle as I've no idea what to write in a letter.

Can anyone suggest anything I can do?

What happens at the magistrates court?



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Comments

  • tacpot12
    tacpot12 Posts: 7,836
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    edited 12 November 2020 at 8:23AM
    Are you being taken to court for not having a TV licence when you needed to have one OR are you being taken to court for not having a TV licence when you didn't need one?

    You have a defence in the second case, and no defence in the first case. 

    If you have no defence, you need to explain to the court how you came to have no TV licence when you needed one, and ask for time to pay the fine. They will take your income into account. 

    If you have a defence, I would suggest you find a friend who can present your case and your evidence that you did not need a TV licence in the period that you are being prosecuted for not have a TV licence.
    The comments I post are my personal opinion. While I try to check everything is correct before posting, I can and do make mistakes, so always try to check official information sources before relying on my posts.
  • pphillips
    pphillips Posts: 1,631
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    Suggest you get some advice from here: https://www.tvlicenceresistance.info/forum/index.php
  • andygb
    andygb Posts: 14,631
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    pphillips said:
    Suggest you get some advice from here: https://www.tvlicenceresistance.info/forum/index.php

    Thanks for that - excellent. I found this Youtube video, very funny.

  • tacpot12
    tacpot12 Posts: 7,836
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    So a £200 fine for not having a TV Licence when you need one, or buy a TV licence for £157.50? Sounds like buying a TV licence if you need one will save money...
    The comments I post are my personal opinion. While I try to check everything is correct before posting, I can and do make mistakes, so always try to check official information sources before relying on my posts.
  • LolliUK
    LolliUK Posts: 10
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    tacpot12 said:
    Are you being taken to court for not having a TV licence when you needed to have one OR are you being taken to court for not having a TV licence when you didn't need one?

    You have a defence in the second case, and no defence in the first case. 

    If you have no defence, you need to explain to the court how you came to have no TV licence when you needed one, and ask for time to pay the fine. They will take your income into account. 

    If you have a defence, I would suggest you find a friend who can present your case and your evidence that you did not need a TV licence in the period that you are being prosecuted for not have a TV licence.
    As far as I'm aware I had a TV licence but he tricked me into signing a form saying that I had been watching TV without a TV licence. 

    I don't have any friends or anyone to help me with this, thus I'm here looking for help on what to do next. I've been told to write to CAPITA to see if they'd drop it given the enforcement officer tricked/coerced a vulnerable disabled person into singing the form. But I need to know how to write a letter to them.
  • giraffe69
    giraffe69 Posts: 3,546
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    "As far as I'm aware I had a TV licence"  Can't you check? You can look at the licence if you can find it or check old emails or go online to check.
    If you believed you had a licence not sure how anyone could trick you into signing to say you didn't!
  • pphillips
    pphillips Posts: 1,631
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    edited 20 November 2020 at 1:41PM
    These cases are proven on facts and not on awareness, so you either needed a licence and had a licence or you didn't. Your awareness in relation to the facts makes no difference to whether or not you are guilty.
  • JJ_Egan
    JJ_Egan Posts: 20,281
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    OP before the year in question how have you paid for TV Licence ??
    You have licence = not guilty .
    Do not have a licence then what are you watching via Firestick  .
  • macman
    macman Posts: 52,949
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    edited 20 November 2020 at 4:00PM
    If you had a licence then send them a copy and ask them to drop the prosecution. But, if you have a licence, then why did you get a visit from Capita anyway?
    If you want to make a separate complaint that you were 'coerced' into signing a form then by all means do so, but your simple defence to the charge is to prove that you did have a license at the time.
    No free lunch, and no free laptop ;)
  • You say you had a license but fell behind with payments. Doesn’t that in affect mean you had no active license if you were supposed to pay weekly? 
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