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Pub football on TV case set to drag on
A FORMER pub landlord being prosecuted for illegally showing a Premier League football match has spoken of his frustration as delays look set to drag the case on for two years.
John Doyle and his wife Mandy, who screened a Liverpool versus Tottenham game at the Queensfield, Stratton, in January 2010, have had their trial put back until January.
The couple have asked magistrates at previous proceedings to throw the proceedings out.
And they could even seek costs themselves for being wrongly prosecuted.
The delays have been caused by witnesses failing to show up and the courts waiting for an appeal to be lodged against a judgement in Cheshire that Media Protection Services, who act on behalf of the Premier League, cannot bring prosecutions in such cases.
Mr Doyle, 48, said: “Our lives are on hold. We’ve been told several times by the magistrates that the case will be chucked out if there is no progress at the next hearing, but it never happens.
“At the very least they should drop the case against my wife, as she wasn’t even the licensee, I was.
“I have been given the opportunity to run numerous pubs around the town, but I have had to say no.
“It’s been almost two years and the maximum penalty will be £750 compensation.”
Mr Doyle, from Penhill, said he was told the satellite decoding system was legal when he purchased it and he has a receipt from what he assumed was a reputable company based in the UK.
Mr Doyle, who has fallen back on his taxi service after losing the pub, said: “If the case in the high court finds that landlords should not be prosecuted there will be a lot of people putting in appeals.
“As far as we are concerned though this should have been chucked out a long time ago.
“If it was the CPS or the police bringing the prosecution it would have happened. “In the meantime we have been stopped from progressing our lives. We feel it’s David versus Goliath.”
Mrs Doyle’s solicitor Mike Pulsford, of Jeary And Lewis, said a district judge in Cheshire had ruled that MPS had no lawful authority to bring a prosecution in an identical case.
MPS is seeking permission to appeal the judgement in the Supreme Court. But Mr Pulsford has argued the proceedings against the couple were void from the start – a legal term known as ab initio.
And they could make a claim for costs for being prosecuted by a company which is not an injured party and does not have the same legal authority as bodies like the RSPCA.
He said: “Mr and Mrs Doyle have waited almost two years for their trial.
“I have written to the court on behalf of Mrs Doyle advising that the proceedings were void ab initio. “MPS has yet to receive permission to appeal to the Supreme Court.
“In the meantime, the Doyles have lost their pub. “I have a great deal of sympathy for Mr Doyle, who has had to represent himself in proceedings which should have been withdrawn a long time ago.”
MPS did not respond to a request for comment.
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