Licensee's satellite conviction upheld

By Iain O'Neil iain.oneil@william-reed.co.uk

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags Judge Karen murphy

A Portsmouth licensee who appealed against a conviction for showing foreign satellite football has lost her case. Karen Murphy, of the Red, White and...

A Portsmouth licensee who appealed against a conviction for showing foreign satellite football has lost her case.

Karen Murphy, of the Red, White and Blue in Southsea, Hampshire will face fines and costs of around £12,000 after a Crown Court judge upheld her conviction.

Murphy was found guilty in January of showing Premiership games via Greek satellite channel Nova at her pub.

Last year she was acquitted of the same offence because the judge found she had not acted dishonestly - because she did not know she was breaking the law.

Murphy continued to show the games and was prosecuted again.

She told the court she had taken legal advice from her solicitor and was told she was not acting criminally.

However, Judge Iain Pearson told Murphy he felt she knew what she was doing was illegal and she was "hiding" behind the legal advice of her solicitor.

Pearson, who sat with two lay justices, said: "In our

view Murphy hid behind the legal advice as a convenient shield with which to hide

her dishonesty."

Murphy took out a foreign satellite system after being encouraged to do so by Gales, which owned the pub at the time. Since then she has received a letter from Fuller's, which bought Gales, saying that in their opinion the equipment should be removed.

Judge Pearson said he believed the Greek football programme being shown in the pub was contained in a broadcast coming from the UK - without interruption - and therefore a fee should have been payable to Sky. He upheld the magistrates' court's decision.

MPS backs court's ruling

Ray Hoskin, managing director of Media Protection Services (MPS), which brought the prosecution, told the MA outside court: "It gives me no delight to see another licensee convicted.

"Over the past two years or so the trade has been seriously misled by illicit dealers in these cards, and, in particular, the false 'spin' placed on the Gannon case on the internet.

"Although MPS was not the prosecutor in the Gannon case, the court today made it quite clear that they disagreed with many of the points argued in Gannon.

"The judge also made it clear that licensees cannot hide their dishonesty by sheltering behind legal advice, insurance policies [and so forth]."

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