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26-2-2014 12:30 am  #1


WON

Hi all, apologies for this tardy post but I would like to thank all contributors of this site for the advice given in helping us win. In november we were at Dover magistrates attempting to get recompense for the theft of our tobbaco back in Feb 2013 where myself and two friends lost our goods and my friend also lost her mobility car (which she got back in May), between us we had 17kg of tobbaco (domingo blue,domingo green and samson).
From the infomation we got from the site we sent in our NOC and asked for the officers notebooks and started building our case, again from the infomation and help from here.
We eventually recieved our court date which was 21/11/13.

We arrived at court at 9 am pretty nervous about what were about to have to go through being that none of us had any experience of being in a court room let alone try and represent ourselves.
We went through the security scanner and up to the waiting area where we were told we would be in Court No1 and that the home office solicitor would introduce themselves when they arrived. We then went outside to have a cigarette, whilst outside we saw the three BF officers that took our tobbaco arrive and thats when it hit home that this was really going to happen, we queued up behind them to re enter, the officers did not have to go through the metal detectors although thier bags were searched and unbelievabley one of them had a large lock knife in his bag, the embarrased look on his face was a picture when he had it confiscated. Back upstairs there were approx 5 or 6 other BF officers there for other cases and they were all talking when we heard the main officer that stole our tobbaco and the one that interviewed me, brag that he was now the number 1 BF officer in Calais (if he reads this he will know who he is), this was said quite loudly and we are sure it was a tactic to phase us (and to be honest it did). The sollicitor for the home office introduced herself and explained a little what we were aloud/not aloud to do, although she also told us that there would be a legal person that would explain this further when we entered court. I then gave her my pack outlining my case with all my arguments against the BF highlighted, I also gave her a copy for the magistrate and I kept a copy for myself.

Our court proceedings started at 10.30 am, we entered and the legal woman in the court went through some do's and don'ts in layman's terms (still quite baffling).The three magistrates then entered, their solicitor said it was normal for us to start the questioning but as we were repesenting ourselves and unsure of the procedures she said that she would start, so the main seizing officer was called. The home office solicitor asked the normal questions going through them one by one with him and this is where it started to go wrong for her, it appeared that none of there own paperwork tallied with what myself, my friends and the magistrates had i.e page numbers etc she was quoting did'nt  match,  page 2 was page 10 in one pack and page 15 in another, one question was of such a large quantity where the officer gestured to the bench about carrying my 6.5kg as if it was a tonne weight, another was about how many pouches somebody could smoke a week to which he said that it was a "FACT" that the most pouches somebody could smoke a week was 3 he must of stated the word FACT 3 or 4 times stating his time of 15 years experience, eventually she finished her blundering questions and it was my turn to question him. Again the legal woman in the court reminded me of the type of questions i could ask.

My first question was about the initial stop, as it stated on the paperwork that he was the intercepting officer I asked for his definition of intercept but was told by the legal woman i couldn't ask questions like those so I told him that he wasn't the officer that intercepted us but was his collegue outside the shed who in-turn directed us to pull to the left and then that he appeared a minute or so later, he tried to suggest that all his collegue did was wave us through to the left and in no way stopped us, when in fact he had stopped us asked us where we had been,how long we had been gone and for what reason we travelled to which we replied to purchase tobacco it was then he instructed us into the shed. The magistrate then asked him what the procedures were and he stated almost exactley what i had just said, so there was his first lie.
I then asked what were the reasons for the stop, quoting thier laws on stopping people (I can't remember the actual quote but i think it was about not stopping someone with the intention to find reason to sieze), again i was told that i couldn't ask this and the officer was told he didn't have to answer my question, but this is the number one BF officer in Calais and said that he would love to answer the question he told us that he could answer the question but that he can't answer the question, he went on to explain that they had prior inteligence to our arrival but was unable to disclose what this inteligence was due to its nature and that the information is not for public domain.
My third question was to why he felt the need to gesture to the bench about the weight of my tobbaco as if it was heavier than it actually was and pointed out to him that it was in 3 plastic bags and he was a strapping lad and didn't pose that much difficulty in carrying, to which he agreed.
My next question was on his FACTUAL evidence that nobody could possibly smoke more that 3 pouches of tobbaco a week and stated that was merely his opinion and not at all a FACT, but he kept on stating it was indeed FACT, he had concluded this to be FACT on the strength of the interviews over his 15 years experience in the job.(I gave up asking anymore,but i think the magistrates new it was hardly fact)
i asked a few more questions and that was that.
Next it was the second BF officer who had interviewed one of my friends, again the home office sollicitor asked him the same kind of questions as the first and my friend felt no need to ask him any.
Then it was the final officer the one who had the knife in his bag, (although the oldest officer he seemed to have the least experience) again he was asked simmilar questions by their sollicitor then my friend who was the driver asked her questions.
Her main question was regarding the reading back of the notebook and then to sign the book, my friend didn't have her glasses with her so could not read the notes when asked so the officer went to get another officer to witness him reading the notes back then got her to sign the book.
My friend asked who this other person was and why wasn't it noted that a witness was present, he faffed about and repeated unintelligible nonsense,the magistrate asked him what are the procedures for this and he went on to explain that it is normal practice to get another officer in the room to witness the reading of the notes then get the passenger to sign, stating that the officer he brought in was standing behind him. The magistrate asked again what the correct procedures were and he said that another officer was called and sat beside him with the notebook between them so that the other officer could read along as he was reading the notes aloud, so two different stories in a space of two minutes. The magistarte asked why the other officer hadn't signed the notebook to say it was witnessed but he couldn't answer, i believe he simply didn't know what the correct procedures were.
My firend also asked how he had came up with the cost of the tobbaco at £470.00 to £490.00 when all she had was 5kg of domingo blue and that they had a receipt showing it costs £413.00 for 6.5kg (my receipt) his answer was that he himself got the prices off the internet and didn't know there was a receipt, my friend dismissed this and suggested that he must of known because surely they would of comunicated this between themselves before a descision to seize was made.The magistrate then asked him how he could be so far out with his estiamted price of £470.00 to £490.00 when in fact it was almost £100.00 cheaper, he then went on to explain that it wasn't himself that found the price on the internet but a collegue had found the price.

It was then our turn in the box.
I was first and went through my paperwork bundle listing the reasons for seizure and my argument against them, directing the bench to the page numbers to back up my arguments, my main one's being amount I smoked and how many i get from a pouch, length of time tobacco would last.
In our initial stop I was asked how many I smoked a day my answer was 40-50 and how many i roll from a pouch to which i replied i didn't know has i had never found the need to count.I told the bench that since our stop I had obviously counted how many roll ups i can get and on average i would roll approx 80 this would be dependant on the quality of the tobacco as domingo is a cheap brand and sometomes the quality wouldn't be that good i.e stalks,and the odd unground leaf etc etc.I also had my conversion chart that I had got from this site to back this up and directed the bench to the page it was on, the home office solicitor looked at my chart and then asked if we could have a 15 min comfort break.On her return I noticed she had some calculations on the chart I had given her and she started to tell me that my calculations on the chart were wrong and that according to my chart I would have quite a bit of tobacco left after my time it would last me of approx 7 months, I then started giving her a mathmatics lesson that on my consumption i smoked 3.75 pouches a week and that she had it worked out 3.25 pouches a week, she then said there wasn't much difference in both calculations to which I replied that was half a pouch a week which worked out 2 pouches a month and in turn 14 pouches in the 7 months I expected my tobacco to last.She then went on to question the ammount I roll from a pouch saying that the least they accept you can roll from a pouch is 80 and that wasn't it a coincidence that is what I rolled, I went on to tell her she was wrong and that it depends on the ciggarette papers and filters and 80 was not there so called accepted minimum(again information I had found on this site).
Another point I raised was regarding the seizure infomation notice we were given as the information on the form was incorrect, the car registartion was wrong  and had us coming in from Calais on a P & O Ferry when in fact we came from Dunkirk and on a DFDS ferry, she jumped up saying this should be ignored as it was the first they had heard of this,I pointed out to her that it was in the paperwork bundle with the booking confirmation that i had given her before the proceedings had started, she had obviousley not read through the bundle.


My friends were next and it was basically the same i.e consumption charts and the fact that one was on a mobility allowance and how could she afford to save £380 to buy tobacco on her income  she told her that she could save about £25-£30 a week and if she had to buy uk duty tobacco it would cost her over £40 a week so it made financial sense to travel to Belgium, the Magistrtate agreed.

They then asked us to wait outside while they made their decision. We waited for about 20 minuets or so then called back in.
We stood up and the Magistrate began to tell us the outcome, we initially thought we had lost until she looked at us and said that we would be getting our goods back or monies.One of the reasons they gave was the cost of the tobacco being one of the cheapest brands and the low incomes supported this,we were also awarded costs to which the home office appealed against quoting some case but this was ignored and costs would be awarded.


All in all a good day at Dover and without the aid of this site and the people that contribute we could not of done any of this.
One thing i Consciously did was address the BF officer as Mr S****  and not officer **** in an attempt to make him sound not as important. Also as mentioned in another thread on "your day in court" dress smartly, do not interupt and keep cool when the BF start with all their lies, take notes and when its your turn to question them pull them up on their lies. Their experts at asking questions but are novices at answering them.

Last edited by sba01 (26-2-2014 12:58 am)

 

26-2-2014 12:54 am  #2


Re: WON

They were given 21 days to appeal this decision (they try to tell you its 28)
I phoned them a week after the 21st day and they told us they would be in touch with an offer, I also phoned the department that deals with costs and they sent me a letter asking for my bank details so it could be paid, I sent an email with the details they required.Almost 2 weeks later I phoned again to ask about our costs and was told they hadn't recieved any details from me I told her when I sent the email (date and even the time I sent it) and she found it, she then went on to tell me it would be sorted within 7 working days, that was in early January,every time I phone now the person handling it is out of the office. I am also getting the same response from the department that deals with paying for our goods,if im fortunate enough to get through between 10am and 1 pm im told the person dealing with it is out of the office.
Were not going to phone them again we have an appointment with our MP on Wednesday to see what else we can do.

     Thread Starter
 

26-2-2014 3:30 am  #3


Re: WON

Well done to you all,a great result.As you say,let them rattle on,eventually they drop themselves in it with their lies.

 

26-2-2014 8:33 am  #4


Re: WON

" Bloody Well Done!"      http://cdn.boardhost.com/emoticons/grin.png
http://cdn.boardhost.com/emoticons/grin.png
http://cdn.boardhost.com/emoticons/lol.png
http://cdn.boardhost.com/emoticons/shout.png
http://cdn.boardhost.com/emoticons/grin.png
http://cdn.boardhost.com/emoticons/grin.png

 

Last edited by Numpydumpty (26-2-2014 8:36 am)

 

26-2-2014 9:00 am  #5


Re: WON

Beating BF in their home court is a real result

Few expletives - Well Done http://cdn.boardhost.com/emoticons/happy.png


Please ensure you do not divulge any information which could identify you as Border Force may use your posts here as evidence against you in court.
 

26-2-2014 9:06 am  #6


Re: WON

Fantastic News. Congratulations.

Don't underestimate, this is a monumental victory. For all 3 of you to win at Dover with 5 or 6 times the guideline amount and without having to go to appeal....

Point of interest for others though, it's not up to the prosecuting barrister to tell you what you can and cannot do. It's up to the bench and the clerk to decide what is relevant.

Well done indeed!!!http://cdn.boardhost.com/emoticons/grin.png


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26-2-2014 9:11 am  #7


Re: WON

Oh and by the way, fax seems to be the best way to get quick replies from NPSU at the moment.

If you can't find the number I think Piotrek has it.

Did they issue a section 144 certificate at court?
 


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26-2-2014 9:18 am  #8


Re: WON

Congratulations. Don't bother phoning them just an invoice to NPSU and give tham 30 days to pay it. If you don't get money send them reminder with 2 weeks deadline and than go to small claim court.


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26-2-2014 9:20 am  #9


Re: WON

eezyrider wrote:

Oh and by the way, fax seems to be the best way to get quick replies from NPSU at the moment.

If you can't find the number I think Piotrek has it.

Did they issue a section 144 certificate at court?
 

numer will be on the paperwork recieved from them and there is a post with link to the website you can send fax through internet for free. Makes is cheaper and easier to do, and it works as they responded to every single fax that was send to them through that website.
 


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26-2-2014 1:19 pm  #10


Re: WON

excellent news,well done and congratulations.


Please ensure you do not divulge any information which could identify you as Border Force will use your posts here as evidence against you in court.
Better to live one day as a lion than a thousand days as a sheep'

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26-2-2014 3:26 pm  #11


Re: WON

Nice one, Thanks for updating us. Bet you will feel good next time  customs stop you.
Thanks

garry

Last edited by N2Dgarry (26-2-2014 3:27 pm)


START HERE, By answering these questions. http://n2d.boardhost.com/viewtopic.php?id=1526
Useful documents for download : http://n2d.boardhost.com/viewforum.php?id=34
Goods been seized, Start here.  http://n2d.boardhost.com/viewtopic.php?id=78
SOT Thanks to TBD. http://n2d.boardhost.com/viewtopic.php?id=373
 

26-2-2014 6:04 pm  #12


Re: WON

Bloody fantastic news, not only have you won your case, you have sent a message to the UKBF that members of this site are fighting back and it's no longer taken for granted that UKBF at Dover can ride roughshod over the rights of free citizens. HUGE Congratulations. I have a fight coming up with these same officers (I know they are the same from one of the phrases that you documented) 15 years experience eh! 15 years a liar and a bully No1 officer. Perhaps your victory will force a rethink on tactics used to rob ordinary folks of their civil rights. I hope so.

 

26-2-2014 6:18 pm  #13


Re: WON

Highlander wrote:

Perhaps your victory will force a rethink on tactics used to rob ordinary folks of their civil rights. I hope so.

of course it don`t, they do the same every day, he been doing this for 15 years, every day he is learning something new, gaining new experience do you thing that one case lost out of thousands `won` would change anything in their mind?
I don`t think so, they been train to do what they doing, the way they doing it. we have stand up and let more people know about this web site so they can stand up and fight for themselves as we did.
people have to know that they not alone, do you think I would won my case without this site? I don`t think so, and more likely the same apply to most of us that won the case.

 


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26-2-2014 7:34 pm  #14


Re: WON

I honestly believe that the efforts of people contributing to this site is making a difference. If I was the manager of the team that did this injustice. I would be rethinking my tactics. But hey this is probably a conversation for another thread. Feel free to start one I will respond. Lets not detract from the fantastic victory of sba01 and friends. WAY TO GO SHINE A LIGHT ON THE LIES.

 

26-2-2014 8:58 pm  #15


Re: WON

Thank you to all, we in no way could of accomplished this without this site and the people that contribute, the confidence and information that we got from this site was invaluable.
We went to see our MP today so we are going to leave it to her now to get our money back (hopefully)
We also think we know what  intelligence the BF said they had to initiate our stop, when we arrived at the shop (Eurobaccy) to buy our goods there were three men already there, one in paticular stood out as he was over excited and bouncing about blerting on about getting one over on customs, yet he only had 1 carrier bag with what looked like 1 pack (10 pouches) of tobacco, one of the three was getting a drink from the vending machine and the other was just stood there, both were carrying nothing. We remember this because of his over the top actions and said to eachother when they left what an idiot the guy was and that he was going on about customs but hardly had anything. We think this is the reason they had the wrong registration of the car, they had the last letter as an E instead of a O, also why they thought we were traveling via Calais rather than Dunkirk hence wrong ferry.
 

     Thread Starter
 

26-2-2014 9:07 pm  #16


Re: WON

eezyrider wrote:

Did they issue a section 144 certificate at court?
 

  Unsure what this is.
We did get a letter from the court headed:
Order for dismissal of complaint for condemnation and certificate of reasonable grounds for seizure under section 144(1) of the customs and excise management act 1979

and at the bottom it says:
it is this day ajudged that the complaint be dismissed and this court certifies pursuant to section 144(1) of the said act of 1979 that there were reasonable grounds for seizure of the said goods.
 

     Thread Starter
 

26-2-2014 9:17 pm  #17


Re: WON

Well done - yet another victory for the site!

Did you ask for costs and how much (if anything) were you awarded?

 

26-2-2014 9:20 pm  #18


Re: WON

sba01 wrote:

eezyrider wrote:

Did they issue a section 144 certificate at court?
 

  Unsure what this is.
We did get a letter from the court headed:
Order for dismissal of complaint for condemnation and certificate of reasonable grounds for seizure under section 144(1) of the customs and excise management act 1979

and at the bottom it says:
it is this day ajudged that the complaint be dismissed and this court certifies pursuant to section 144(1) of the said act of 1979 that there were reasonable grounds for seizure of the said goods.
 

Unfortunately it means you cannot legally pursue HMRC or their officers for any possible wrongdoing or any compensation other than the purchase cost of your goods and (possibly) reasonable court costs.

This means you cannot claim for travel tickets etc. I believe other members have different theories but none have yet been proven. It's only a matter of time I think until s144 gets overruled but at the minute it's something we have to live with.
 


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26-2-2014 9:43 pm  #19


Re: WON

eezyrider wrote:

Unfortunately it means you cannot legally pursue HMRC or their officers for any possible wrongdoing or any compensation other than the purchase cost of your goods and (possibly) reasonable court costs.

This means you cannot claim for travel tickets etc. I believe other members have different theories but none have yet been proven. It's only a matter of time I think until s144 gets overruled but at the minute it's something we have to live with.
 

My understanding of Cert 144 is that you can claim compensation for "the goods, the whole goods and nothing but the goods" though I may be wrong about this.

NPSU have offered me something towards my travel costs (although considerably less than what I asked for)

Regarding court costs, I have just received a letter from Home Office solicitors informing me that there was a "costs hearing" at Hull magistrates on 25 November, at which they were represented by Counsel and that I had failed to attend. This is hardly surprising as I was not notified of any such hearing. I have since telephoned the court and they also had no knowledge of this hearing.

I have tried to contact HO solicitors several times over the last few days, in the hope of clarifying matters,  but they don't seem to be answering the phone.

 

27-2-2014 1:14 am  #20


Re: WON

turbulentupstart wrote:

Well done - yet another victory for the site!

Did you ask for costs and how much (if anything) were you awarded?

 yes, the magistrate awarded us £145 which covered petrol cost and hotel for 1 night.
The home office solicitor tried to stop this by quoting some previous case (which refered to a council tax case) where costs had been denied, the bench then consulted the clerk and then they said that the award for costs would stand saying that if the case had gone the other way the home office solicitor would of applied for costs for herself and the BF officers that were called.

     Thread Starter
 

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