Former Daily Telegraph editor Charles Moore tells today how he has been fined over his stand in refusing to buy a tv licence while the BBC was still employing Jonathan Ross following the "Sachsgate" scandal.
He writes in the Telegraph : "Yesterday, at Hastings magistrates' court, I was found guilty of "using a colour television receiver without a licence", and fined £262. My opponents, TV Licensing, argued that my offence was "absolute" and had "no mental element", which is lawyer-speak for saying that my reasons for refusing to pay were irrelevant. I had refused: therefore I was guilty.
" The magistrates, though they kindly fined me only a quarter of the maximum penalty, agreed. This saga began in October 2008, when BBC Radio 2 broadcast, on The Russell Brand Show, a sequence in which Brand and his guest, Jonathan Ross, made several obscene and threatening telephone calls to the answering machine of the elderly actor Andrew Sachs. The calls were about how Brand had slept with Sachs's granddaughter. The chief theme of the "prank" – as its defenders liked to call it – was the humiliation of hearing about your granddaughter's sex life, and of the public hearing it, too."
Moore adds: "It was against my conscience, I told the magistrates, to be made to pay for the weird ideology which thinks that cruel jokes by Ross are justified because they "push the boundaries". This would be a good matter to test in the High Court."