Plymouth pub boss cleared of 'illegal' football match screenings
A CITY publican has been cleared by magistrates of illegally showing football matches in his pub.
Stanley Ashton was prosecuted for allegedly showing Sky domestic broadcasts in his premises without a Sky commercial contract.
The 63-year-old denied three counts of dishonestly receiving a programme with intent to avoid payment at the Friary Vaults in Grenville Road, St Judes.
It was claimed he had screened Stoke City v Chelsea and West Brom v Manchester United on August 14, and Liverpool v Manchester United on October 15.
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Mr Ashton was prosecuted by the Federation Against Copyright Theft for allegedly avoiding payment to BSkyB.
Plymouth magistrates dismissed the case at a hearing on Tuesday and awarded Mr Ashton costs from central funds.
Speaking after the two-day trial, his soli citor, Paul Dixon, said: "The magistrates had no hesitation in dismissing the charges against my client.
"Stan Ashton is a credit to the licensed trade. I am delighted that were able to establish his innocence and preserve his good character.
"This is the fourth case of this type against clients of mine that has been thrown out by the courts in the space of two weeks. The time has come for Sky to call a halt to its campaign of prosecutions against the licensed trade."
A Sky spokesman said: "Licensees should be aware that the only way to show Sky broadcasts to the public is via a commercial agreement with Sky and users of any other unauthorised system will be subject to legal action. Sky will continue to protect the interests of our legitimate subscribers by supporting FACT (Federation Against Copyright Theft) in prosecuting licensees who break the law."