Court summons for 'BBC bias' licence fee refusenik

A TV viewer who refused to pay his licence fee for almost seven years over “biased reporting” has been issued with a court summons from the BBC.

John Kelly, a 70-year-old retired engineer from Exmouth in Devon, has refused to pay the annual fee since 2002, accusing the BBC of being pro-European.

After nearly seven years of dodging the fee, Kelly said he had now received a summons to Exeter Magistrates Court on 15 July.

He said: “First of all let me make it clear that I love the BBC. It’s a unique public service broadcaster and I listen to and watch it as much as anyone else.

“But on this one issue of reporting on issues of political significance I believe they are biased.

“Particularly with the issue of British membership of the European Union. Their reporting on issues surrounding the Lisbon Treaty is very biased.

“The Royal Charter says reporting should be fair, balanced and allow its subjects to form their own opinion.”

Kelly said he initially attempted to complain formally to the broadcaster, but felt he “got nowhere with the procedure”.

“After going through the complaints procedure for two years, I felt I had no choice so I stopped paying,” he said.

Kelly said he was not fazed by receiving the summons.

He said: “I’m not sure how I’ll plea yet, but I intend to argue for a conditional discharge. That has happened in cases such as this before.”

Kelly faces a fine of up to £1,000 if he pleads or is found guilty.

A TV Licensing spokesman said: “Anyone caught watching or recording TV programmes without a licence risks prosecution and a fine of up to £1,000.”

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