Withholding Mail

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malagabob | 12:36 Sat 15th Jun 2019 | Law
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If you get a court appearance. Fail to turn up because you were unaware of the demand to appear, because the letter wasn’t notified or forwarded to you the recipient. And consequently a warrant is issued for your arrest Is the person who didn’t notify the recipient guilty of perverting the course of justice or delaying Her Majesty’s mail.


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I wouldn't have thought so. You can have your mail redirected by Royal Mail, or informed the court of new address.
From a BBC item,

'The Postal Services Act 2000 is clear that an offence is created if anyone intentionally delays the post or intentionally opens a mail bag. The Act goes on to say: "A person commits an offence if, intending to act to a person's detriment and without reasonable excuse, he opens a postal packet which he knows or reasonably suspects has been incorrectly delivered to him."

Which, as even non-lawyers will easily appreciate, is not the same thing as throwing away a letter because you can't be bothered to deliver it yourself. It could be argued, though, that putting mail in the bin counts as a "delay", albeit an indefinite one.

But the chances of being able to complain to the police about a negligent neighbour throwing away your letters is pretty slim, simply because of the difficulty of finding out about something you probably did not even know was on its way to you.

And even if there was evidence that someone had opened your letters, proving that they had done so intending to act to your detriment would be no easy task.

Incredibly rare

A Royal Mail spokesman admits it's unlikely prosecutions could be brought, simply because of the difficulty of getting evidence. Furthermore, he's not aware of anyone having been prosecuted for throwing misdelivered mail away.

The reported cases of prosecutions for tampering with the mail are incredibly rare, and involve rogue postmen.

 It may not seem that important to you if you get someone else's mail - most people say to themselves 'it's a small mistake and it only takes five minutes to pop it through the right letterbox or put it back in the postbox' 

Peter Carr, Postwatch chairman

The spokesman adds that it would be a different matter if someone profited from information taken from someone else's mail, or indeed stole items directly out of letters or parcels.

As for letters which have been incorrectly addressed, as opposed to those which are simply put through the wrong letterbox, there is an easy answer. Many people may be tempted to open such letters to find out a return address, but need not worry."'

They are not "withholding" mail. They are simply not forwarding it on - which they are under no obligation to do. If you change address it is your responsibility to see that your mail is redirected. Your notion that they may be perverting the course of justice is laughable.
The assumption has been that the withholder is someone random, a new occupant maybe but I wonder if malagabob is asking about someone known to the recipient not forwarding out of malice eg a deserted wife still in the marital home as a random example. Are they still considered innocent?
But whoever they are, they have no obligation to redirect or return mail prudie. If someone is arrested and expects post to follow up the matter it is his or her responsibility to ensure they can be contacted.
If a letter has been delivered to the address on the envelope, although the intended recipient is no longer there, I'm not sure that a failure to return it as "gone away" is an offence since it went to the intended address.
Dont think so THECORBY. When Ive been in the position of moving into a new property, and mail I received was for previous tenant, it was just returned to mail system marked "Return to sender, Addressee no longer at this address"
As much for my benefit, so I was not getting unwanted mail, after a while just got my own mail.
Royal Mail says, "If you’ve received mail which has your address, but not your name, this is because we deliver to addresses rather than names. If this does happen, you can put a cross through the address and write 'Not known at this address' or 'No longer lives here' and put it back in a letterbox.  Where possible, we’ll return the item to the sender hopefully allowing them to update their records."

There's no obligation mentioned no legal requirement quoted.
No legal requirement at all, you could simply bin it if you wanted to, no obligation at all. As I said returning mail was for my benefit. Some were obviously court and bailiffs letters and I didn't want the hassle.
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Without going into more detail. Prudie is on the right track.
Prudie and Bob
Whatever the reason you are not getting you mail Bob, be it vindictive or malicious the reason you are not getting your mail forwarded, the onus is on you to get your mail redirected and let your known correspondents eg Bank, Court etc know you new address.
So there is no such crime as stealing or hiding someone's mail? I know nothing in this area but can't believe it's so cut and dried.
Prudie not forwarding mail is not an offence as far as I know.
However if you start opening mail not addressed to you that is a different matter.
There is obviously more to this than Bob wants to disclose. Without anymore info I cant give any more advice
no - nope

// Without going into more detail. Prudie is on the right track.// this is not a guessing game - it is a law thread that offers advice ( that no one so far has ever taken)

if someone destroys mail etc blah blah blah then they are guilty of ( whatever ) treason - murder. insert crime that sounds right to you .....

is NOT what this is about

Many people turn up later and say - yeah well I didnt get this - yap yap yap
and are convicted by default
and have to go thro the relevant appeal procedures ( Civil court - having the judgement set aside and so on )

we used to sing to our postman
wait a minute wait a minute mr post man wait wait for me

and later he said I love coming to this house and we said how so?

and he said - because you dont swear at me when you get a court summons ( thats because I send them out but dont get them I said quickly ) or ask me to rip them up so they can plead that they never had it .....
[yeah yeah we thought he was gonna say you sing to me - nodda hope]


it happens a lot and the judges dont believe the excuses because the have Heard it All Before ....( many times)
it is hard world in which we live......
twas ever thus
// forwarded, the onus is on you to get your mail redirected //

erm no he can let it flap in the breeze and miss the letter and pay the fines
and the onus is nowhere ....

where there is a section - address where you may be contacted

dont put in an address where you may NOT be contacted

because durrr there may be expensive consequences ...

Jesus this HAS to be Ab on a sunday rainy afternoon
/// You can have your mail redirected by Royal Mail, ///

Not always totally effective - mistakes are made.
// and mail I received was for previous tenant, it was just returned to mail system marked "Return to sender, Addressee no longer at this address" //

and yes - - no
all my tenants are VERY satisfied and never leave
so the ones that do (!!) erm I have chucked out ( legally of course ! ) because they didnt pay the rent

and guess what ? - - - - - - - ( what? whispers the average ABer who has no idea what is to come next)

they havent paid for anything else

so the CCJ may be RTS'd ( the county court judgements are returned to sender - Jesus, the average Aber isnt very quick you know, OK are renowned but not for quickness of wit - foo! as 3T says so often)

but of course the bailiffs arent, and come around
knock knock knock

so I say to the new tenant - nevr never open letters not addressed to you - but hey they all have small children who rip open letters as they arrive as tho it is Teddy who needth an appendikth operation.

and they answer them

You dont want the bailiffs around to you
watch that prog on TV - "bailiffs who screw innocent people knowing it is not their property but sell it anyway"

the prog has a shorter title than that
/// You can have your mail redirected by Royal Mail, ///
but may not work ....

yeah the royal moyle wrote to me saying
"You have told us you are fleeing your awful Landlord ( name of PP ) and have moved to XYZ "

and I thought how very very kind of them to tell me where the whole dirty lot have moved to .....

ripped open and laid bear ...


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