Judge recuses himself from TV Licensing case

Justice has to be seen to be done, but must be tempered with mercy, even for judges

The truth be told

A few weeks ago I reported on the heavy feeling I had when I went to file the documents in my local court to have the judge recused from my case against TV Licensing. (I am suing them after turning the tables on their harassment of the public, but in the process exposed a fraud that the BBC and Capita are engaged in, with big consequences.) I can now report that the judge has indeed recused himself, and has also been recused from another case where I acted as a McKenzie friend (i.e. informal advisor).

It gives me no pleasure at all to know that this judge’s career is now besmirched with complaint and controversy, making appointment to a more senior position unlikely. I only hope he recognises that he has erred and repents. In my ideal fantasy he would go to work with victims of miscarriages of justice for some time, and come back to the bench strengthened from the experience, having atoned. But few men will have the humility and courage to do so, as it requires passing through the long dark night of the soul as we confront our own arrogance and misadventure.

So you can see how this happened, I have reproduced the main submissions to court below. I have removed all reference to the judge’s name as this is about the process, not the person. He may have veered off the righteous way, but that is not a reason for me to conduct a post-event vendetta to humiliate the man. Whether this is his worst nightmare or greatest blessing is on him. As one old friend jokingly says, “the penguin is mightier than the swordguin”; what we say has a profound impact, and the need for kindness and respect goes two ways. Nonetheless, justice is a public process.

Application to have Judge REDACTED recused
from case REMOVED Martin Geddes vs TV Licensing

  1. I wish to apply to have Judge REDACTED recused from the appeal to my case, and another judge brought in his place. I base my plea on what I have observed to be his lack of impartiality with respect to litigants in person, where he appears to fail to uphold the law with respect to standing, and shows consistent bias in favour of establishment institutions, refusing to acknowledge the presence of criminal behaviour by such, demonstrating a shortfall in professional conduct including lack of diligence. This is based on his performance on this claim REMOVED by myself against TV Licensing, and I refer to claims REMOVED and REMOVED by another party against Northern Powergrid for substance.
  2. I am a litigant in person who has made a claim REMOVED against TV Licensing, which has unexpectedly uncovered an underlying fraud by the BBC and Capita to falsely present this trademark as a legal person, in order to assign assets to one entity (the BBC) and liabilities to another (Capita). In the manner of Ferguson vs British Gas Trading (2009), I find myself battling for a core legal principle of public interest, at considerable cost to myself, and minimal personal benefit.
  3. I obtained a default judgement, which Capita applied to have set aside, which was granted. I am appealing this on the basis that Capita have no standing, being only an agent of the BBC (the only party who can logically be TV Licensing), and thus are an interloper. Judge REDACTED has been assigned to my appeal, and I will return to this matter below. For now, what matters is that I am a litigant in person, contesting standing, in the context of what appears to be a criminal act by multiple large corporations acting in cahoots.
  4. The witness statement filed with this application summarises my poor experience with Judge REDACTED as an observer in the case of Andrew Stephenson vs Northern Powergrid, where another litigant in person is treated in derisory manner, and his central argument of lack of standing is actively ignored in the judgement. This is despite his prima facie case of serious unlawful acts by corporations acting without appropriate authority.
  1. By coincidence, Judge REDACTED was assigned to my own case, where a litigant in person also seeks justice via the civil courts for a lack of standing in the context of what appears to be corporate fraud. As such, all these matters in the case of Andrew Stephenson vs Northern Powergrid have bearing in the case of Martin Geddes vs TV Licensing.
  2. To avoid an accusation of painting myself as purely innocent and with the cleanest hands in history, I did miss a filing deadline in April, and assumed that my appeal would lapse. Capita applied to have it struck out, but Judge REDACTED reignited it in September, giving me a second chance, based on making certain filings to the court in time, which I have done. For this I am grateful, and acknowledge its appropriateness and mercy.
  3. Judge REDACTED initial order seemed to conflate the underlying issue (whether I have a valid claim against TV Licensing) with the actual matter being appealed (that Capita lack standing, and by granting it the judge assisted them in breaking various laws). If Capita did lack standing, the validity of my underlying claim is moot, since the default judgement still applies. I had to write to Judge REDACTED to clarify what his purpose was, since his order did not make sense in the context of where the case was at procedurally. A new order was issued, which is similarly confusing.
  4. The fundamental lack of clean hands is at the door of the BBC, who own the TV Licensing brand, and who present “TV Licensing” as if it were the statutory licensing authority when it is not, thereby allowing their agents to pretend to be this entity when it is convenient to the BBC. Their website even says “© TV Licensing”, which is a nonsense, since trademarks cannot own copyright. Nonetheless, Judge REDACTED is putting the confusion of the defendant’s legal person identity at my feet, when I am the wronged party by this identity fraud. This violates equity, as the unclean hands are not my own.
  5. What concerns me is that firstly Judge REDACTED has raised matters again unconnected with my appeal, and threatened me with costs on the basis that he presumes my underlying claim would stand little chance of success if tested. This is not for him to adjudicate at this stage. If Capita broke the law by claiming to be “TV Licensing”, acting as principal when they are agent, then justice demands that I be brought back to the place before I was wronged. That I am exposing a criminal fraud should point the exact opposite direction to a vexatious abuse of process.
  6. This unnecessary and unjust threat of costs, combined with my experience as McKenzie friend to Mr Stephenson, has had a significant effect on my mental health. I simply filed a legitimate small claim stating that TV Licensing — the only apparent entity I had interacted with — has agreed to a correspondence contract with me, and were unlawfully harassing me.
  7. Reasonable people could disagree over the merits of my claim that turns the tables on authority that is abusing its power. I did not ask to be involved in exposing a fraudulent shell game by the BBC and Capita. I believe Judge REDACTED is abusing his position to discourage a litigant in person from threatening the credibility of powerful entities who are acting unlawfully.
  8. Judge REDACTED has raised matters to do with the transcript of the original judgement that make no sense. The transcript is of the judgement, yet he is implying that it is not. This smacks of a lack of professional diligence in understanding the case, and seriously threw me off balance, making me feel alienated by the court and reluctant to engage as it felt like I was being punished for no reason.
  9. Given the previous performance of Judge REDACTED on the case with Northern Powergrid, I hope the court can put its mind to the cause of my concern, and the resulting lack of trust in Judge REDACTED. I have observed the bias shown in favour of the BBC and Capita by ignoring their criminality, and presuming without evidence that my claim is abusive and vexatious. The legal identity and credibility of the alias “TV Licensing” is a matter of enormous public interest, which inevitably will bring a resistance by both corporate parties to any ruling which will damage their standing.
  10. Judge REDACTED has forced me to produce unnecessary additional filings, being on the particulars of claim and defence against Capita’s submission, that have no bearing on whether Capita ever had standing to enter the court and claim to be TV Licensing. This appears to be a form of fishing expedition to find grounds on which to dismiss my appeal, and reflects what I observed when Mr Stephenson raised the matter of standing.
  11. The parallels between the case of Mr Stephenson any my own are very clear: respect for a litigant in person, the standing of the other party, adherence to the letter of the law, appropriate costs when in pursuit of a public interest matter, insistence on equity, and professional conduct. Each one is a matter of concern in the case of Judge REDACTED.
  12. I believe that the behaviour of Judge REDACTED in the case of Mr Stephenson constituted both common law assault (by shouting at Mr Stephenson) as well as misconduct in public office (by appearing to apply his judicial mind to avoid making a lawful ruling, and being biased towards one party).
  13. I am potentially opening myself to ruinous costs by proceeding to expose the fraud of the BBC and Capita in both claiming to be “TV Licensing”, depending on whether the matter is an asset or liability. This is wholly inappropriate for a small claim where the litigant in person is pursuing a significant public interest matter.
  14. I have observed Judge REDACTED attack litigants in person, ignore the law, deny equity, overlook standing, abuse the costs process, disregard criminality, and reject public interest matters. All I sought in my appeal was a judgement of who “TV Licensing” is, and whether Capita had standing.
  15. Based on all of the above, I declare that I have no confidence in Judge REDACTED upholding his oath to deliver justice as we recognise it. The pursuit of a fit and proper consideration in the public interest for the matter at hand demands that a new judge is appointed who treats litigants in person, addressing institutional wrongdoing, with respect and fairness.

This filing was supported with the following witness statement:

Witness statement on conduct of Judge REDACTED
Martin Geddes — writer and photographer

  1. The event that caused me to lose confidence in Judge REDACTED was on 30th November 2023, when I attended Teesside Combined Court for case REMOVED/REMOVED. I acted as a McKenzie friend to Andrew Stephenson, a litigant in person who has been unlawfully disconnected from his electricity supply due to a fraudulent warrant by a party with no standing.
  2. Acting in his appellate capacity, Judge REDACTED held an oral hearing, where the defendant (Northern Powergrid) was not present. From the outset I observed Judge REDACTED to be contemptuous, sarcastic, and aggressive towards Mr Stephenson, in a manner that shocked me from a circuit judge. He repeatedly interrupted when Mr Stephenson tried to speak, and prevented him from making his points. At one point where Mr Stephenson attempted to correct the record, Judge REDACTED shouted back at Mr Stephenson.
  3. It was not the dignified nor just behaviour one would expect from a judge whose role is to remain impartial, and deliver justice according to the facts that were presented to him. It appeared to me that Judge REDACTED was instead outwardly protecting the interests of the Northern Powergrid in his hostile cross-examining of the witness and respondent to the claim.
  4. The figural matter of the case was whether various parties (Octopus, Haste, Northern Powergrid) had standing, given that the contractual dispute with Octopus was in official deadlock and had been put to the Ombudsman. They clearly did not, and when this was raised by Mr Stephenson, Judge REDACTED became uneasy and changed the subject, spending the next half hour addressing unrelated matters and speaking down to his papers and not the court. Each time Mr Stephenson repeated that the other party lacked standing this was ignored.
  5. The previous judge (causing the need for an appeal) also failed to consider the essential matter of (lack of) standing, and Judge REDACTED compounded this injustice by refusing to rule on this matter in the appeal once more. He failed to apply his judicial mind to the single central issue, and therefore did not do his job, causing serious injustice to a litigant forced to live on an emergency diesel generator for nine months. On this basis alone, I have no confidence in Judge REDACTED as a fair and impartial adjudicator.
  6. Judge REDACTED also failed to apply his judicial mind to other essential matters, notably that the power cable that was cut was owned by Mr Stephenson, not Northern Powergrid; that the warrant was invalid and obtained on a manifestly improper basis; that Mr Stephenson had lawfully changed electricity supplier with no evidence to the contrary; and that Northern Powergrid had grossly exceeded its authority and negligently left the property in a dangerous state with Mr Stephenson getting electric shocks.
  7. Meanwhile, Judge REDACTED introduced irrelevant matters, such as the nature of an authorised versus appropriate electricity meter, which has no bearing on the appeal. Judge REDACTED implied that Mr Stephenson was committing fraud simply because he wished to keep the identity of his new (legitimately unregistered and unlicensed) “green” micro electricity supplier private, as the supplier feared reprisals given the treatment of Mr Stephenson. There is no lawful obligation for Mr Stephenson to reveal his lawful alternative supplier.
  8. Judge REDACTED was specifically warned by Mr Stephenson that by failing to address the matter of standing, he was effectively changing the law, by nullifying the role of the Ombudsman. This warning was ignored, and Judge REDACTED proceeded to break his judicial oath to uphold the law in the process. The statutory duty of Northern Powergrid to supply Mr Stephenson was also ignored. A more blatant act of misconduct, changing the law from the bench, is hard to imagine. I believe Judge REDACTED strayed far enough to justify a formal complaint and investigation.
  9. Judge REDACTED gave no weight to the criminal conduct of the defendant and other parties, which include trespass, criminal damage, wasting police time, racketeering, and perjury. This could easily have been a corporate manslaughter case if the electric shocks to Mr Stephenson had resulted in him collapsing in his shower, where he was experiencing the electrocution due to negligence from Northern Powergrid.
  10. In a comprehensive failure of empathy, Judge REDACTED also ignored the toll on Mr Stephenson of these compounded injustices, continuing to rule that money could act as compensation for effective exile from modern society by unlawful disconnection from the power grid, solely for the “crime” of switching to a (lawful) unregistered and unlicensed micro supplier. This was done as per the regulations — but to the discomfort of the “big boys” who were acting in an anti-competitive manner to protect their billing monopoly. No reasonable judge would have accepted this position if the roles had been swapped, violating basic principles of equity.
  11. Mr Stephenson raised serious matter of access to justice with Judge REDACTED, with his transcripts being “lost” by the court on four occasions, and Northern Powergrid being granted privileges to go around due process, while Mr Stephenson was being held to account on every detail of process. The casual dismissal of these matters by Judge REDACTED troubled me, as his job is to defend equality under the rule of law, not the administrative bureaucracy.
  12. Judge REDACTED also refused to countenance arguments rooted in equity, notably the inequality of arms of Northern Powergrid (none of whose employees or agents are disconnected from mains power) versus a litigant in person running a small farm who had done no wrong, yet had been targeted for punishment by the utility companies. That he refused to apply a judicial mind to these issues, no matter what the outcome, was disappointing at his level of seniority. Ignoring equity is something one might anticipate in the lowest administrative tribunals, not at the appeals level.
  13. Mr Stephenson’s case was not properly assigned at the outset to the small claims track, and as a result he was hit with an £12,000 costs bill for attempting to undo the criminal acts against him via a civil court action. This injustice was also ignored by Mr REDACTED, who no doubt has had a successful legal career, and could afford such a penalty. Litigants in person making small claims should not experience duplicate punishment through economic hardship.
  14. Judge REDACTED also gave a eulogy to his colleague who had made the initial ruling, despite this judge also having self-evidently failed to do his job by ignoring the central matter of no standing, as the matter was in deadlock and referred to the Ombudsman. This gave me the impression of facing a legal cartel facilitating lawbreaking by powerful corporate interests, rather than an impartial justice acting to uphold the law in the manner of the symbolic blindfold and scales.

I believe that the facts stated in witness statement are true. I understand that proceedings for contempt of court may be brought against anyone who makes, or causes to be made, a false statement in a document verified by a statement of truth without an honest belief in its truth.

7th January 2024
Martin Geddes

The order that has resulted is below — Judge Wood is the original judge who was doing his job as best he could, and whose judgement I am appealing against. I was unable to articulate at the time that this was a criminal fraud by the BBC and Capita, and not merely a procedural error, so no criticism is implied. The point in reproducing this is so that everyone reading can see that the judiciary does have processes to hold delinquent judges to account, and they can be used successfully by determined novices like myself. (I believe I have done the transcript admin properly and will investigate tomorrow.)

Redacted letter

This whole episode has paradoxically only served to reinforce my respect for the office that judges hold. It is so extremely responsible, and so easy to suffer from lapses. Every single one of us has been subjected to vicious indoctrination, subversion, and deception. The context of this case is a silent genocide by trusted authorities, completely undermining the trusted social order. I absolutely forgive this judge for any trespass, bear no grudge against him, and hope that some good can come to him from this unfortunate episode.

It is easy to criticise, but I am not someone who is suited to this kind of judicial role. I couldn’t do his job, no matter what my own positive qualities; it is simply not my calling. I have been caught up in this propaganda and information war for years, and will hold the line regardless of the cost, so won’t stand for nonsense and bullying from the bench. Yet none of these people are my enemy. Not any judge. Not the legal team at Capita. Nor any of the ordinary staff at the BBC. We have been placed into a tragic condition by broken systems, and together we have to find a loving and compassionate way out again.

I know that I have been given a gift with words, and it has pained me to have to apply that talent in holding this particular judge to account. This is a sin of pride more than a crime of misconduct. My hope is that some of these players come to understand the dynamics that were in play, and that this is not personal. My real motivation in going after the BBC is to put a tiny dent into their war crimes, to the extent that I am permitted to be a nuisance to the Ministry for Mendacity. I don’t care about the licensing of televisions per se, nor the BBC’s unethical relationship with CapitaIf I wanted to make some quick cash, this is a terrible way for someone of my professional background to go about it.