A couple of weeks ago, a poster went to BHF for help with a TV license fine. The opening post said the following:
Hi guys need some urgent help pls. I had a tv licencing fine which wasnt paid as I left my partner and has nothing to my name so couldnt pay it.
My neighbour gave me a letter from them she was on holiday as it was posted to hers. So i rang em to make a weekly arrangement and she told me no as I had gone over by 1 day!!!
The guy came knocking on mondag at 7.00 and i didnt open the door. He came again yesterday and he was knocking on my neighbours doors. 1 of the neighbours rang my husband and told him. I was at an appointment no one was at home but apparently he was here for nearly 2 hours. My husband (we reconsiled a few weeks back) rang him and he goes hes going to come back with a locksmith and break in and take stuff if its not paid. So my husband told him come on friday and he’ll see what he can do. We cant afford nearly £800.00. I have a car outside and its not mine, a friends parked it outside as I have space, not registered to me or nething and he posted a letter stating he’s taken control of the car and will contact police if we use it. We cant use it as it’s not ours and we dont even have a key for it.
Can he break in on friday? I know hes going to come at 6.00 and start knocking and he’s not going away if he was outside for 2 hours yesterday, we cant pay him £800.00
Any advice will be apprecaited. He was really nasty to my husband on the phone. I was genuinely at the job centre and no1 was even home, i have a 2 year old, and a 9 month at home, noway they were going to stay quiet.
I have 4 children and we’re really stuggling. I admit i dis tell the court when i got the letter I will pay weekly but my circumstances changed.
It is quite obvious from the above that the poster was not only fully aware of the fine, she had even promised a weekly payment to the court. See below how she admitted to having signed a letter admitting to not having a license.
Jason then posts a template for her to do a statutory declaration. His usual template contains the following wording:
I: [NAME] residing at [ADDRESS AND POSTCODE] and my date of birth is 01/01/1980
DO SOLEMNLY AND SINCERELY DECLARE THAT:
I was unaware that I had been convicted of a crime until I received a document from a [bailiff company/the DVLA] on [DATE] and I hereby make this solemn declaration by obligation under section 14(1) of the Magistrates’ Courts Act 1980 to bring this fact to the attention of a designated officer of the court within 21 days of becoming aware [of my entitlement to make this declaration].
I further make this solemn declaration under Section 7 of the Statutory Declarations Act 1835 believing the same to be true.
This document is delivered addressed to the designated officer of the court by Royal Mail recorded delivery service pursuant to section 14(1)(2) of the MCA 1980.
DECLARED AT: ________________________ (place)
Can anyone spot the obvious problem with this? The poster has openly admitted that she was fully aware of the TV license fine, not only did she sign a letter admitting to not having a license, she also contacted the court with a repayment offer, yet she is *solemnly declaring* that she was unaware of having been convicted of anything.
Now let’s take a look at the Perjury Act 1911:
5 False statutory declarations and other false statements without oath.
If any person knowingly and wilfully makes (otherwise than on oath) a statement false in a material particular, and the statement is made—
(a) in a statutory declaration; or
he shall be guilty of a misdemeanour and shall be liable on conviction thereof on indictment to imprisonment, for any term not exceeding two years, or to a fine or to both such imprisonment and fine.
While this poster may not have knowingly and wilfully made a false statement because she was just blindly following Jason’s advice, the court may well take a different view. Advice like this is extremely irresponsible and dangerous. The poster could find herself with another conviction, another fine and, potentially, even doing time in prison.
Furthermore, the EAs returned with a locksmith and forced entry. The poster thought they needed the court’s permission to do that, obviously she wasn’t told that bailiffs are allowed to force entry when collecting court fines without further permissions. Note how Jason then turns the tables and advises to take photos and document everything for a future action for damages. What action? The agents acted within their powers. Still Jason refuses to mention this fact when she asks, once more, whether they’d need permission to break in.
Note how, on post 33, she says she wrote to the court about her situation and also attached “the letter”. That would be the statutory declaration. The court would find it rather puzzling if someone wrote to them saying they can’t pay their fine because of their circumstances while also attaching a statutory declaration claiming not to have any knowledge of the fine…
Jason ignores all this and asks when the SD was sworn in, there isn’t any evidence that it was, the poster may well have thought it was just another letter. So we have someone whose locks have been drilled, facing extra locksmith’s charges, a potential conviction for perjury with its associated fine leading to another enforcement action…