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Man wins TV licence battle
2:00pm Sunday 12th August 2012 in News
A MAN who took on the TV Licensing authority in court and won is still waiting for his costs to be paid.
Michael Shakespeare, from Grays, made sure all his equipment at home could not receive a live TV signal and watched catch up TV through the internet, which you do not need a TV licence for.
Mr Shakespeare wrote to the authority to inform it what he had done, inviting it to send someone round to check it out.
An inspector was sent round to check the equipment and Mr Shakespeare filmed it.
He heard nothing more until five months later, when a summons for court arrived in the post for non-payment of his TV licence.
TV Licensing obtained a copy of Mr Shakespeare’s video, which was uploaded on to YouTube, and said it showed a frozen image on a TV screen of The One Show, proving Mr Shakespeare was receiving live TV.
But Mr Shakespeare said the image was not present in his original video.
In a landmark case at Basildon Crown Court, the judge found Mr Shakespeare had no case to answer, as TV Licensing could not prove the validity of the video. Their own inspector also said in court he had not seen the frozen image when he visited.
The judge ordered that Mr Shakespeare’s defense costs, in the region of £3,000, be paid through central funds, a separate source of funding managed by the Ministry of Justice.
He said: “This case wasted a year of my life and cost me in the region of about £18,000 as I had to employ expert witnesses.
“It was a brilliant result because it proved they didn’t have a shred of evidence that was arguable in law, but they still went ahead anyway.
“I believe they were trying to punish me because I was a political opponent to licensing.”