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10-10-2018 7:56 am  #1


Challenging the legality of the seizure

Hello everyone!
At first, thank you all for this forum and great job you doing here, helping to fight against those clowns. 
So, it is also me, who has been robbed of my goods and I'll be grateful for any help / advice from you.
Applied for SAR and received (however it's was extremely painful), Applied for restoration (denied) and now I am challenging the legality of the seizure - first hearing will be soon. So, my question is, what can I expect on first hearing, how to prepare myself, how it looks like? They claim that the 1st hearing is only to indicate whether or not I still want to proceed with my claim and there won't be any evidence presented on that day, is that true? They sent me some papers to sign and asked to send them back with declaration that I still want to contest my case or not. I did not sign anything as there is mentioned 2500 pounds to be paid in case of unsuccessful contesting, so it is like agree to be charged. Do you think I should sign it, or just appear on first hearing?

Also - do they know how much I bought each trip or just how often I was crossing the border?
 

Last edited by firebee (10-10-2018 1:54 pm)

 

10-10-2018 3:15 pm  #2


Re: Challenging the legality of the seizure

Hello Firebee.

The first hearing is for you to claim ownership of the goods and to set a date for the main hearing when you will be available. You have to claim ownership of the goods for there to be a case.

You are correct in not returning their paperwork. Once you make an appeal Customs have to take the matter to court (or give you your goods back). The letter is simply intimidation on their part, ignore it.

We believe they do not even know how many times you cross the border, let alone what goods you have. The only way they find out if you are a frequent traveller is by checking with the carriers such as P&O etc. Even then they can only prove that you made a booking and not that you actually travelled. Unless things have changed they do not log your passport every time it is presented.

I suggest you ask at the hearing when the evidence bundles need to be exchanged by. The evidence bundle is what you intend to refer to in court such as your sar etc. Their bundle should include reasons goods were seized etc. Mags will need a copy also.


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10-10-2018 3:55 pm  #3


Re: Challenging the legality of the seizure

Thank you for your response eezy!
So, I have to introduce my receipts for the goods at 1st hearing - Am I right? And if I understand correctly - the evidence bundle (from my side at least) don't need to be introduced to the Mags at that day (1st hearing), this is why I have to ask, when it need to be exchanged by?

 

Last edited by firebee (10-10-2018 3:56 pm)

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10-10-2018 6:03 pm  #4


Re: Challenging the legality of the seizure

firebee wrote:

Thank you for your response eezy!
So, I have to introduce my receipts for the goods at 1st hearing - Am I right? And if I understand correctly - the evidence bundle (from my side at least) don't need to be introduced to the Mags at that day (1st hearing), this is why I have to ask, when it need to be exchanged by?

 

No receipts necessary. You will take the oath and give verbal evidence. You are correct about the bundle.
 


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18-10-2018 9:52 am  #5


Re: Challenging the legality of the seizure

Few questions born in my mind:
1. How quick usually gets from 1st hearing to 2nd?
2. Do I need a lawyer at first hearing or at least introduce his name?
3. Do I need introduce my witness name at 1st hearing?
4. I read they sometimes drop the case before the hearing - is it before the 1st hearing or second?
Thanks 

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18-10-2018 1:39 pm  #6


Re: Challenging the legality of the seizure

Are you intending to employ a solicitor for the hearing? You will not be asked any questions at the 1st hearing other than confirm name and address, ownership of the goods and what dates are you not able to attend court. They might also confirm date for the exchange of evidence bundles. If not ask them for a date.

Full hearing is normally a few weeks after the first. I don't recall them ever dropping a case but occasionally they do not get the summons in before the time is up.

Your witness? Do you mean you have a witness to support your case or do you mean their witness ie BF officer?



 


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18-10-2018 6:24 pm  #7


Re: Challenging the legality of the seizure

Yes, I intend to employ the solicitor as I am not a native english speaker, so I fear of misunderstanding or mispelling, also I wanna make sure I did everything I can, to clear my name. Yes, I have a witness that I am a heavy smoker and confirmation from my GP surgery (I didn't have a lighter or opened packet on me).

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18-10-2018 11:06 pm  #8


Re: Challenging the legality of the seizure

The fact that you are appointing a solicitor throws a whole new interpretation on things.

Have you had a consultation or appointed a solicitor yet? The solicitor will want to prepare his own evidence bundle and arrange his own dates and allocation of court time. 

If you have not found a solicitor yet I think you will have great difficulty in finding one who can handle condems. We have yet to find one who has anywhere near the experience on the subject that we do. However if you do find one please let us know as we are often asked for recommendations.

Good luck with the hearing.


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18-10-2018 11:18 pm  #9


Re: Challenging the legality of the seizure

Nope, I didn't find yet. Any recommendations? However, is it hard to defend myself without the solicitor? How most of you handled it?

Last edited by firebee (18-10-2018 11:20 pm)

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19-10-2018 12:00 am  #10


Re: Challenging the legality of the seizure

firebee wrote:

Nope, I didn't find yet. Any recommendations? However, is it hard to defend myself without the solicitor? How most of you handled it?

As I said above - no we do not know any good solicitors and you could be looking at nearly £2000!

It is very late now to be looking for a solicitor. If you want to be represented you must appoint one now and let him takeover the case and attend the first hearing. There are many hours research to do to prepare a case.
 


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31-10-2018 12:12 pm  #11


Re: Challenging the legality of the seizure

Just to be absolutely sure - at the 1st hearing won't be any interrogation of witnesses, except me to claim the ownership? I am sorry if I am doubling the questions but I start to be nervous about the whole thing. I decided to represent myself, it will hard for non-english native speaker, but I have to try. 
cheers!

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31-10-2018 5:19 pm  #12


Re: Challenging the legality of the seizure

firebee wrote:

Just to be absolutely sure - at the 1st hearing won't be any interrogation of witnesses, except me to claim the ownership? I am sorry if I am doubling the questions but I start to be nervous about the whole thing. I decided to represent myself, it will hard for non-english native speaker, but I have to try. 
cheers!

There is nothing to worry about, you will be fine. I suggest you tell the mags at the first opportunity that English is not your first language. They are obliged to make sure that you have a fair hearing and may ask if you need an interpreter.
I think Piotrek opted to use an interpreter at court but then wished he had not.
 


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01-11-2018 7:55 am  #13


Re: Challenging the legality of the seizure

Thanks for cheering me up 
So I did. I asked about the interpreter as I am afraid I could don't understand "the court" sentences. Did Piotrek win? Why he wished that he had not?
I wonder: when I am interrogated at the hearing, do I have to use only words like "yes, "no", "i don't know" or I can fully speak to explain myself with full sentences?
Also... I am having trouble with the officer notebook. I can't understand what he wrote in one sentence (his handwriting is horrible) and I think this is the one of the most important sentences in the interview. Can I please send it over to you Eezy by private message, maybe you could help me with it?

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01-11-2018 9:52 am  #14


Re: Challenging the legality of the seizure

If I remember correctly Piotrek used interpreter at Mags and lost. He then went to Crown court without interpreter and won. Maybe they are too polite to the court.

The best answers you can give are yes/no/don't know. It makes the barrister work hard to get any info. The more you say, the more info he has to trip you up.

Send over the notebook. BF are notoriously bad for not being able to write properly. I have a case at the moment where several people have failed to translate the notebook. BF did include a typewritten version in the evidence bundle though.


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28-12-2018 9:33 am  #15


Re: Challenging the legality of the seizure

Firebee is in court today.

Good Luck!


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29-12-2018 9:14 am  #16


Re: Challenging the legality of the seizure

Unfortunately it all went wrong.

This was a court we had no experience of previously and like Hull mags there was a bias in favour of BF.

Firebee was not allowed to use his notes. Since English is not his native language this was a double disadvantage. It also appears that the interpreter was not 100% fluent as she was confused at times.

We need to get this case before a proper judge at Crown but it's up to firebee.


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29-12-2018 10:25 am  #17


Re: Challenging the legality of the seizure

eezyrider wrote:

If I remember correctly Piotrek used interpreter at Mags and lost. He then went to Crown court without interpreter and won. Maybe they are too polite to the court.

The best answers you can give are yes/no/don't know. It makes the barrister work hard to get any info. The more you say, the more info he has to trip you up.

Send over the notebook. BF are notoriously bad for not being able to write properly. I have a case at the moment where several people have failed to translate the notebook. BF did include a typewritten version in the evidence bundle though.

 

Eezyrider you do remember correctly, my interpreter was scared to say What I said to her.  Thats Why in Crown I did't use one as I think she Did little damage to my case. The worst was friendly clerk of justice in Mags, since first minute HO barrister and clerk were like they know each other for years.
Firebee I think in Crown you get better chance to explain yourself, at least I Did, even judge was acting little bit as my McKenzie friend as he was asking me questions while I was in the dock and there was No one to question  me after HO Did So. I would definitely go on appeal again.


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29-12-2018 12:10 pm  #18


Re: Challenging the legality of the seizure

Piotrek,

Thanks for your support. He is intending to appeal.

Strangely he felt that the clerk was trying to help him but the magistrates were being difficult.

The magistrates also told him that costs must be paid within 28 days. I do not believe that is correct if the case is going to appeal.


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29-12-2018 12:16 pm  #19


Re: Challenging the legality of the seizure

eezyrider wrote:

Piotrek,

Thanks for your support. He is intending to appeal.

Strangely he felt that the clerk was trying to help him but the magistrates were being difficult.

The magistrates also told him that costs must be paid within 28 days. I do not believe that is correct if the case is going to appeal.

 
He does't have to pay nothing now If he is going to appeal. When my case was going through No one was chasing the money, it was Just over £2000 in HO costs and about £3300 in duty I was told to pay, than in Crown it was all wiped.


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30-12-2018 12:53 am  #20


Re: Challenging the legality of the seizure

Battle was lost but the war goes on. Thanks all of you for your support guys.
Yes, the clerk was extremely helpful and I felt she is strongly with me. She was even dictate to me, what should I ask the officer and she was giving me directions, where should I focus, where the weak points for them are.That didn't help, as I felt from the beginning the judges are not with me. They asked me just 1 question, where BF had them quite often. I had few moments where I was winning, but barrister was too good for me, inexperienced guy from the street, not knowing their insolent practises. 
I think that whatever will be said at that day, the judges who never crossed the case like this before, believed from the beginning that, there are limits and that's it. Interpreter made some damages same like with Piotrek's case and the barrister was allowed to do anything, where I was stopped when tried to asked prepared questions. At the end - everything depends of the people assigned to your case. Judges at 1st hearing where on my side... these ones definitely not. Bad luck
 

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