The Day We Beat and Outed the UKBA In Court!

It was a daunting prospect of taking on the UKBA at court to fight Condemnation Proceedings. We'd come onboard late to help Mr and Mrs "Donny" fight their case. They had already been given the date of the court case when they contacted us so we didn't have a lot of time for preparation. We thought we had a little more time when Mr Donny fell ill and applied for an adjournment to the court but it was refused! Research shows judges do this when they think you have no chance of winning the case. So our outlook was gloomy to say the least. Added pressure is the official stats that show less than 1% win against the UKBA. We also had no legal representation as Mr and Mrs Donny could not afford such a luxury as a barrister. The odds were indeed stacked against us.

We have to add here our admiration and respect of Mr and Mrs Donny. They had so much courage in taking UKBA to court. Despite facing the loss of £2500 worth of cigarettes and being liable for another £2500+ of UKBA legal costs, their resolve to fight the UKBA never wavered. They are respectable, honest to a fault, working class people who have worked all their lives, never been in trouble with the law and are shortly to reach the age of retirement. They are now in the position of enjoying the fruits of their working lives. One of these 'fruits' is to be able to afford holidays abroad 2 or 3 times a year. Another is to be able to purchase their cigarettes abroad in a quantity that saves them a great deal of money. Who could possibly object to them doing so? .... well, UKBA Officer Alistair Graham Fields ... that's who!

This Officer Fields deserves a post outing him for what he is ... and he shall get it, but not yet as this post is about the case.

We were definitely running out of time to prepare. The case was on Mon 30th Jan and we were away 27, 28 & 29th of Jan at Skegness Rock n Blues Festival. So, we took everything with us including computers and printers. Zaphod worked Sat  28th afternoon and on the Sun 29th afternoon we arranged for Mr and Mrs Donny to come down to us. Mr Donny had recovered enough by then to travel. We spent that Sunday afternoon going through as much as we could. lt meant us missing a few gigs from the afternoon sessions ... but 'needs must' as the say. Mr and Mrs Donny then went home. We'd like to apologise to Patsy here because she was our guest and we'd have liked to have spent more time with her.

We got up at 5.30am in order to get to Doncaster Court in time. When we arrived at the court we met Mr and Mrs Donny and put our battle plan into action. Courts are a game albeit a serious one ... a sort of theatre in essence where you are to all intents and purposes on stage. We added to that theatre by being able to conjure up a couple of 'professionals' to attend and observe the whole performance. l won't tell you who these 'professionals' were or indeed their profession as the enemy (UKBA) read this blog and we aim to keep them guessing. Upon arriving at the court, they enquired as to the name of the judge hearing the case and the name of the prosecuting barrister. These afore mentioned two 'professionals' were in dark suits, carried brief cases and took notes throughout the case. One would leave at a number of intervals to make phone calls and upon their return, their professional colleague would pass their notes over to bring the other up to speed. They would also pass notes to each other during the case.

Neither the judge nor the prosecuting barrister has a right to ask who these 'professionals' were even though they knew their own actions were being observed and recorded. They still don't know and we shall decide whether or not to use what information and conclusions these 'professionals' have at a later date.

The case opened with Mr Donny requesting Zaphod as a McKenzie Friend ... which was accepted by the judge but Mr Donny's request for Zaphod to be granted audience (to be able to speak for the Donnys) was not. Mr Donny was still not well and in obvious pain despite his medication. The prosecution barrister began the case with an opening statement saying the UKBA believed the Donnys brought in 14,200 cigarettes from Rhodes May 2011 and they were for a commercial purpose. She then called her first witness ... UKBA Officer Graham Fields who interviewed Mr Donny at time of seizure. They went through the notebook as this is the only documented 'evidence' of the seizure and reasons for the seizure. Then came the cross-examination from our side. Mr Donny did very well despite being in a such difficult, alien  circumstances. Mr Donny asked Officer Fields about his training, National Operational Standards, targets set by UKBA for the number of seizures per year and the dubious documented policies internally implemented by UKBA in order to reach these targets. Officer Fields reluctantly admitted to targets but denied they had any influence on how he treated suspects. He also said he adhered to all the standards set.

Officer Fields also admitted his transcript of his notebook was incorrect. He'd added and omitted words and complete sentences. Officer Fields put these down to errors and apologised to the judge. What came next is what the whole case hung on. Firstly was that because Officer Fields believed his notebook was signed as a 'true and factual account of the interview'  that it should should be viewed as a confession.  Mr Donny went on at length to say that he was pressurised and bullied into signing the notebook which of course Fields denied. The next was even more important ... Officer Fields had added 2 more trips abroad where he said the Donnys had gone and purchased cigarettes. He had also increased the number of cigarettes that the Donnys had said they had bought previously. When Fields was asked where he got this information from he said the UKBA database. Mr Donny asked him where this evidence was because he did not have a copy of this evidence in the bundle sent to him.

Officer Fields stated that the court or the Donnys could not have it because it was confidential operational intelligence and was not in the public interest to make it available! ln other words, we had to accept what the UKBA said.

Mr Donny then went over the 3 reasons for seizure.

1. The amounts of cigarettes brought in

2. Frequency of travel and did not believe they did not purchase any cigarettes in Spain Feb 2011

3. Mr Donny was on benefits.

1. Mr Donny went over the amounts he actually purchased but Officer Fields stuck to his own increased amounts and added trips abroad.

2. Mr Donny then explained that they had not bought any cigarettes in Spain Feb 2011 because Spain had greatly increased the price of cigarettes in Dec 2010 by a whopping 28% and they had already booked to go to Rhodes in May 2011 where the cigarettes were over 4 Euros a sleeve  cheaper. They saved about 300 Euros by doing this. Officer Fields stuck to his belief the Donnys bought cigarettes in Spain 2011.

3. Mr Donny explained that he was on permanent sickness benefit due to ill health (he signs off benefits to go on holiday) and he has a substantial amount in personal savings (Mrs Donny has a larger amount in savings).The actual figures were quoted in court along with evidence to back the figures up. Officer Fields stuck to his belief that Mr Donny could not afford to purchase large amounts of cigarettes because he was on benefits.

Prosecution barrister then re-examined Fields and again stated the increased amounts of cigarettes and trips abroad were fact along with the 'signing of the notebook as a true and factual account of the interview'

Next prosecution witness was UKBA Officer Steven Blake who had interviewed Mrs Donny at time of seizure. ln truth, his evidence was very little and did nothing to back up Officer Fields. He stated that he interviewed Mrs Donny but made no conclusions or reasons for seizure because Officer Fields did all that. He did also admit to 'errors' in his transcript statement of the contents of his notebook.

Next up were Mr and Mrs Donny as defence witnesses. Mr Donny was questioned by the judge and then Mrs Donny (with aid of Zaphod). The prosecution barrister cross-examined Mr Donny and then Mrs Donny re-examined. Mr Donny does not have a good memory and easily gets confused with dates and figures but this wasn't a negative in all honesty. He came across as truthful witness who was easily confused. Prosecution barrister tried her utmost to get him to contradict himself but he kept saying he didn't understand, or was confused or couldn't remember ... that is to say, the truth. lt's worth stating here that the prosecution barrister kept bringing up again that Mr and Mrs Donny had signed the notebooks as a 'true and factual account of the interviews'. ln essence she said they had signed a confession. She also continued with the added amounts of cigarettes and added trips abroad as fact.

The judge then broke for  lunch. They had only allowed an hour for this case so it shows they thought it would be a rubber stamp job. During the break, everyone used the snack bar in the court including the 2 UKBA officers although both parties did sit as far apart as possible. During this period our 'professionals' came over to talk to us but then retired for a little privacy to a table in between us and the UKBA officers. The break lasted for an hour and then it was back to court.

Next up as a witness was Mrs Donny. She was nervous but when the judge questioned her she was precise and factual. She never wavered at all. When it came to the prosecution barristers questioning, Mrs Donny not only held up well ... she was bloody brilliant! The prosecution barrister was downright nasty at times but Mrs Donny kept her calm and stuck to the facts ... and adding a few more into the bargain. Again the prosecution barrister kept saying they signed a 'confession' and the added amounts of cigarettes and added trips abroad were fact. Mr Donny then re-examined Mrs Donny with questioning that amounted to denials of everything UKBA had accused them of.

The judge was then about to give his judgement but Mr Donny wanted to make an end statement. The judge happily granted Mr Donny his request. Mr Donny started off by saying he just wanted to make something clear. He said that the UKBA had stated that all these extra amounts of cigarettes and extra trips abroad were on the UKBA database but they couldn't print them off because of security, intelligence and not in the publics interest. Mr Donny then said that this is categorically not true. He directed the judge to part of the defences bundle. lt was a Subject Access Request from a certain 'Smoking Hot' (judge had my real details of course) where not only was every flight there in detail in and out of the country for the past 3 years but even UKBA stop and searches with reference numbers and dates along with any results from these stop and searches. These results showed whether l had any excise goods on my possession at the time of the stop and search and if l had, it detailed the amount l had brought in. These were from the UKBA database!

The judge agreed with Mr Donny and added that he had already noted that and would have thought if there was any such evidence on UKBA's database concerning Mr and Mrs Donny that the prosecution would have used the lunch period to have acquired it. They had not done so. He then started to give his judgement but was interrupted by the prosecution barrister who wanted to add something. He told her in no uncertain terms that he had heard enough from her.

He totally dismissed every accusation (and l do mean every) that UKBA had brought against Mr amd Mrs Donny. He then ordered UKBA to restore Mr and Mrs Donny's goods.forthwith along with what costs Mr and Mrs Donny can legally claim.

This was a day the good guys won. ln my honest opinion l believe UKBA Officer Fields is a liar, falsified evidence and committed perjury.

The judge,  l cannot complain about. Whether he acted that way because of our 'professionals' in attendance l cannot say but l'm more than willing to give him praise for the way he conducted the case. l'd also like to praise a certain gentleman called Bobi who also turned up to support Mr and Mrs Donny. He did it out of his own violation and expense.

Final praise goes to Mr and Mrs Donny who had the courage and determination to fight an agency that is unfit for purpose ... the UKBA!

After the case, the prosecuting barrister came and congratulated us on our victory. She may have been an adversary in court but that's where it stayed.

....................................................................

REMEMBER  

RECORD ALL UKBA INTERVIEWS

DO NOT SIGN UKBA NOTEBOOK .... EVER!

Was going to put this up on Forests Facebook page but it seems Simon Clark has banned me from it :)

37 comments:

  1. F*****g brilliant !!!

    Well done to all involved in the defence.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Officer Fields should be reported to the IPCC for blatant perjury. Excellent result, well done!

    ReplyDelete
  3. Well done all of you - and no worries - I had a great time and really appreciate you asking me along.

    It was just as shame I had to leave a day early but my time was used well as I have done all the stuff I had to do.

    BTW, are you sure Simon Clark has banned you? Could it just be that he has moderation on and hasn't posted up your link yet?

    ReplyDelete
  4. Yes Patsy l am sure. l've been removed from the FB group Friends of Forest. However we have friends there who put up our posts so sod it.

    Glad you enjoyed the gigs ... see you onboard! :) x

    ReplyDelete
  5. I think this is rapidly becoming THE Blog to visit,as opposed to his.
    Well Done on getting a fantastic result in such a short time..
    I wonder if anything in this case could be used for precedents in others,eg."as in the case of **** versus UKBA,M,lud,I think you,ll find.........."?

    ReplyDelete
  6. Simon is too busy doing his Master's bidding or did anyone really think that his latest campaign -against plain packaging- was born out of a love of freedom of expression?

    No, Big Tobacco is finally panicking and has woken up to smell the looming total prohibition and that the price of their quislingness was too high....the promise of 'profits in our time' wasn't worth the rizla it was rolled in.

    Simon and the other supposedly libertarian pro-smoking blogs have shown their true colours by not publicising the FOI on videoing.

    If Simon chooses not to publicise this amazing win then he is actively working against us and is the enemy of the smokers not their Mouthpiece, because this win is almost meaningless without publicity....almost but not quiet.

    That said, fantastic work you guys and once again you've shown that you walk the walk and bring home the soon-to-be-banned-on-health-grounds bacon.

    ReplyDelete
  7. Excellent result!
    Well done to you and also to Mr and Mrs Donny for having the courage to stand up to the bullies!

    ReplyDelete
  8. Great work, chaps. I trust that you will claim every penny that you can in your costs.

    I shall certainly download the transcript when it is available.

    What a pity that the media will not see fit to publicise this case.

    ReplyDelete
  9. Once again...the UKBA brought low.

    I’ve been deeply impressed SH with this case, and of course its right and proper outcome. I don’t think SH, the judge would have acted differently if the two professionals had not been there, observers often appear in court on a regular basis, no, it appears that the judge was just very fair minded.

    For me the killer blow came with the obvious reluctance of the UKBA to furnish the proper information from the database, this nailed them, because they would have known that the extent of their deceit would have become apparent.

    You have shown that when you possess the correct knowledge then this gives you confidence to take these people on and beat them. There is no defence against the truth… truth will out.

    A fine piece of work you guys.

    ReplyDelete
  10. I'm sure that UKBA are not usually stupid enough to falsify data.

    So why do so few people win against them?

    Only a small percentage of seizures leads to appeal by letter. A fraction of those are brave enough to pursue it if it's turned down at that stage. (Court costs!) Those who are still in the game must either be crazy or have a solid case.

    And yet only 1 percent of these few will win?

    Sounds like fair-minded judges may be in the minority. :-(

    ReplyDelete
  11. Very well done. Funnily enough, I am off to Bruges to stock up via Folkestone. My mobile will be fully charged, and I will lose the ability to write a singanture.

    ReplyDelete
  12. So glad you got the result today !!This forum has helped me see I am not the social outcast the government would like to class me as.

    ReplyDelete
  13. When are you in Bruges Timbone? We go soon.

    I hate to see infighting among pro-choicers. We all play a part and have our specialisms and part to play.

    Whether SC is doing the Plain packaging thing for Big T or not makes no difference because it must be done.

    Whether Forest has the expertise, experience, resources or ability to take an UKBA case on such as this doesn't really matter if we have the sound advice coming from here on that issue.

    Why he has removed you from the FB page is only something he can explain.

    ReplyDelete
  14. Patsy, Simon ain't the voice and friend of the smoker and never has been. We desperately need someone else who really is a voice and for me that'd be Farage. Dont agree with all UKIP are for but they are the only option left to us.

    ReplyDelete
  15. do you expect SH to say nowt Patsy? You'd think Clark would stop being so petty n childish

    ReplyDelete
  16. I'm off to Holland today to buy tobacco and this verdict is a useful boost to morale, to the girdening of my loins. If the UKBA try their tactic of 'you risk court costs of ₤5K' then I shall say something along the lines of that they "might like to ask their colleague Fields about that one..."

    I will also be expecting the Officers to follow their own regs and record my utterances in full and in long hand....legible long hand. I will of course pause after each sentence and wait for them to finish recording what I have said before speaking again.

    Cameras? Check.
    SOT? Check.
    SBC-FOI? Check.
    Exquisitely polite but 'bolshy' attitude? But of course, Officer.

    ReplyDelete
  17. SBC ... I wonder how good the ossifers are with German? :)

    Stay safe, SH

    ReplyDelete
  18. SH, LOL yes the thought occurred to me too...particularly as there is no standardized spelling for the dialect we speak at home but i don't want to hinder their copious verbatim note taking...I would like to get home, with my goods of course, at some point within the next week.



    "Would you like an Umlaut with that, Officer?"

    ReplyDelete
  19. Very Well done, and all the best to Mr and Mrs Donny.
    John Gibson

    ReplyDelete
  20. Zaphod said...
    I'm sure that UKBA are not usually stupid enough to falsify data.

    So why do so few people win against them?

    Only a small percentage of seizures leads to appeal by letter. A fraction of those are brave enough to pursue it if it's turned down at that stage. (Court costs!) Those who are still in the game must either be crazy or have a solid case.

    And yet only 1 percent of these few will win?

    Sounds like fair-minded judges may be in the minority. :-(
    ***********************************
    Most likely their statistics are, if not massaged, then produced in a way that seems most favourable to them. I would suspect that they actually mean that they end up having to return 1% of all tobacco seized, not just 1% of that which gets as far as a court case.
    I remember an earlier post where UKBA claimed only a tiny handful (perhaps even single figures) of appeals each year, so the 1% loss figure would suggest they only lose one case every few years, and I know for a fact that that isn't true!

    ReplyDelete
  21. @Anon 10.30

    UKBA don't release these figures, one has to request and dig for them. I have there info from FOI's and from them for the year 2009 we had approx 70,000 seizures from people coming in at airports and ports. 650 appealed and took it to court. UKBA stated from those 650 only 50-60 people won. There was no mention of the amount of appeals at the initial letter stage.

    So out of those figures you get an average just 8% of those that appeal and take it to court win.

    More alarmingly those figures produce only around 0.1% of the 70,000 seizures result in a win.

    The most damning piece of evidence UKBA produce in court is the officers notebook signed by the suspect "as a true and factual account of the interview" ... in other words a signed "confession".

    People sign this notebook without reading it or understanding it ... UKBA know this and use it to great effect.

    ReplyDelete
  22. A true example of how UKBA use their notebooks:-

    Audio recording of interview (covert)

    UKBA ... How many cigarettes do you smoke a day?

    Suspect ... I don't know

    UKBA ... You must know. Tell me how many?

    Suspect ... l don't count them.

    UKBA ... You're being evasive. l don't think you smoke.

    Suspect ... Yes, l do

    UKBA ... Then you'd know how many you smoke? How many is it?

    Suspect ... l can't say exactly

    UKBA ... Approximately then. l need an answer from you. You have to give me answer

    Suspect ... Errrrr, maybe between 20 and 40. Sometimes l smoke more a day than others ... it depends ...

    WRITTEN IN UKBA NOTEBOOK

    UKBA ... How many cigarettes do you smoke a day?

    Suspect ... 20

    ReplyDelete
  23. Well posters I Honest George was awakend yesterday morning to a heavy knock on my front door, Clad onky in vest I went to investigat to fint two cops standing to attention, We have come for your computes the declard and told me I am a racist for it would seem suggesting Lazzerini was an Italian name??? and comparing an untruthful UKBA Assistant officer to the Captian of the Costa Concordia. Buth go off course, both dont abide by employers policy and procedures, Both lie to squirm their way out of it and both may be looking for other employment soon. Hey! In Scotland THAT's racist
    So no computers of my own to prepare my case in defending myself and my property. And all my questions and defences now in the hands of the UKBA

    ReplyDelete
  24. @honest George, sorry but I have to say that I'm surprised that they hadn't seized your computers/charged for your comments sooner. Freedom of speech died on the internet a long time ago...especially in the yUK.

    Some of the things you've posted on your blog have made even me double take. Honest you may be but some of the things you've posted give them just cause to use the police to fuck you over.

    I did mean to email you recently and give you the heads up but tbh I forgot.

    I loath anykind of censorship with a deep passion but you had to have been aware after all the recently 'jailed for life for making nasty comments on FaceAche' headlines.

    ReplyDelete
  25. well done to all involved, this case should be placed in law as a turning point in order to STOP these injustices happening time and time again. UKBA are bullies how dare they treat a couple approaching there retirement years as smugglers. we all need to UNITE and refuse to take any more of this harassment and bullying, by following the advise of this blog we have that power. we have the right to cross border shop and the right to choose whether we want to smoke. surely it is illegal to invade someones personal choice.
    well done mr and mrs donny you are a great example to us all xx

    ReplyDelete
  26. SBC ... but according to George he's been charged with racism????

    ReplyDelete
  27. SH, doesn't surprise me that they charged him with racism- the definition of racism is now so broad... recently i a had a feedback that i had left comment deleted by ebay for 'racism'.

    The comment? "this is cheap chinese tatt".

    ReplyDelete
  28. Very well done, SH. Excellent result. I hate it when these bozos state a belief as if it was a fact. Also they are in complete violation of the treaty of Rome re free passage of goods bought legally within the EU. So why do these cases get brought when there is no evidence of reselling? That is lamentable.

    ReplyDelete
  29. Again, Major Respect to You Guys for taking a Stand for JUSTICE!
    Best Wishes to the Couple 'On Trial'(!!?) also...Hugely admire their courage for refusing to bow to this bullying intimidation.
    In 'Legal-ese' this should be setting a prescedent re. future Appeals.......?
    Glenn

    ReplyDelete
  30. Excellent job MR & Mrs D and you fellas as well...a day and result to be proud of, now what we need is for more judges to realise what a bunch of lying twonks appear before them on behalf of her madgeiness...respect to you all...

    ReplyDelete
  31. l have to say l am exactly like Mr D and l know what guts it takes to stand up against these devious corrupt bastards of the UKBA. I congratulate him on his stand and performance. My wife is like Mrs D too ... an absolute rock, l hope they make these bastards pay!

    ReplyDelete
  32. SH and Zaphod are too modest. l know how much work and effort these guys put in for this case. They deserved this win.

    ReplyDelete
  33. Zaphod / SH and all - well done.

    I think your having the "professionals" in will have put some onto their toes and might have got missus barrister to overplay her hand - theatre as you say :-).

    The patent arrogance of the prosecution barrister and the UKBA is palpable - they KNOW they are wrong - and are clearly choosing to pervert process and the law - they are a disgrace. Perverting the course of Justice = hard ball next time? That would be fun.

    As for Mister Forest - a whiff of arrogance there too... Why do these characters who set up pressure groups get so infected with sniffy "rectitude" when the opposition clearly isn't playing by "the rules"? CAMRA comes to mind - wonder why?

    ReplyDelete
  34. How can these bastards sleep at night knowing they prosecute innocent people by knowingly using false evidence? lt's perverse

    ReplyDelete
  35. Does anyone know what they do with all the tobacco that they confiscate?

    Burn it?

    And if so ...

    Where?

    After all, neither ventilation, nor filtration, nor dilution can control tobacco smoke, and there is no safe level.

    So is the government wantonly murdering millions of good British citizens by burning this stuff?

    :?
    MJM

    ReplyDelete
  36. nice topic thank you and thumb up !
    sbo

    ReplyDelete

"In the eyes of the Tribunal the review letter contained several preconceptions, prejudgments and non-sequiturs"

"the absurdity of this reason is demonstrated by simply stating it"

"We therefore find that Mr Sked misdirected himself as to the Policy in carrying out the review and his decision is therefore one that no reasonable review officer could have arrived at."

... commonly known here at N2D as 'Skeds' ... that is to say these are Judges comments regarding UKBA Review Officer Ian Sked's reasons for rejecting peoples appeals against seizures.

Comments are now moderated to keep out spam and those with malicious intent. The author of this blog is not liable for the content of any comments ... period!