Charles Moore in court over licence fee refusal

A former national newspaper editor who withheld his BBC licence fee in protest at Jonathan Ross and Russel Brand’s radio antics has been fined £262.

Former Daily Telegraph editor Charles Moore refused to pay his £139.50 bill until the presenter Jonathan Ross was sacked for his part in leaving obscene messages on elderly actor Andrew Sachs’ phone.

Writing in the paper today, Moore – who lives in rural East Sussex – said he was fined £262 for using a colour TV without a licence during an appearance at Hastings Magistrates Court yesterday.

His protest came after messages left by Ross and the comedian Russell Brand on the answerphone of former Fawlty Towers star Sachs were broadcast on Radio 2 in October 2008.

Ross told Sachs that Brand had slept with the actor’s granddaughter Georgina Baillie.

The incident prompted more than 25,000 complaints to the BBC.

Ross, who was reputed to be earning £6 million a year from the BBC at the time, was suspended from the corporation for three months while Brand resigned from his own radio show.

Moore wrote: “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’.”

Ross announced in January this year he was leaving the BBC this summer after 13 years with the broadcaster.

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