Car wash owner wins his appeal over licence fine
A BEDMINSTER car wash owner who was fined for not having a TV licence has overturned his conviction on appeal.
Shabaz Saied, who owns SA Hand Car Wash in West Street, was fined £400 plus £200 costs and a £15 victim surcharge.
But with the help of friend Paul Lambert, who effectively fought the case for him, his appeal was allowed at Bristol Crown Court by Mr Recorder Malcolm Gibney, sitting with two magistrates.
Mr Lambert argued that Capita, which carries out enforcement for TV Licensing, did not act correctly in prosecuting Mr Saied after visiting the car wash. There was a TV at the premises, but Iraqi Mr Saied was not in the country at the time and had sub-let the business out to a friend.
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Mr Lambert said Mr Saied, who speaks little English, had no legal representation nor an interpreter when he was found guilty by North Somerset magistrates in October.
Mr Lambert, 58, a landlord and developer of Abbots Leigh, said: "Shabaz was very relieved to have the conviction quashed, as he felt he was not guilty in the first place."
Mr Lambert has complained in writing to TV Licensing, which is a trademark of the BBC used under licence by companies it contracts, over its handling of the case.
TV Licensing spokesman Stephen Farmer said: "Mr Saied successfully appealed this decision at Bristol Crown Court. However, TV Licensing has a 21-day period from this date, during which it may counter-appeal the decision."