Three people at the centre of personal injury claims for fabricated accidents have been jailed for a total of 22 months.
Mohammed Aziz, Abdul Jamil and Shamila Saleem were each imprisoned for between six and eight months after an application for committal from their car insurer. A fourth individual, Farhana Kazmi, received a suspended jail sentence after writing to the insurer admitting the attempted deception.
Each made false statements in claims for compensation for injuries sustained in two separate car accidents which were later found not to have happened.
None of the claimants was injured and their claims for damages were dismissed following a five-day trial, with permission granted to insurer LV to bring proceedings for contempt of court. All four individuals admitted they had made false statements, verified by a statement of truth.
Private hire driver Aziz had claimed for a collision in Leeds in April 2009 after alleging that another vehicle had driven into the side of his vehicle at a junction. His subsequent particulars of claim and witness statement formed the basis for 10 allegations of contempt.
Taxi driver Jamil claimed for a similar accident, also in Leeds in April 2009. He was subject to seven allegations of contempt.
Shaleem and Kazmi claimed to be passengers of Jamil in the same accident and faced eight allegations of contempt.
LV was suspicious about the claims and found that in several cases insurance policies had been taken out in different names but with the same bank details and account number. Policies had also been taken out in the name of different individuals but using the same phone number, and a subsequent visit to a given address for each policyholder found none of them living there.
Six months before the trial date, Kazmi wrote to LV and admitted the claim was fraudulent, explaining she was motivated by greed and that she now feared the consequences for her and her children. She then wrote to the court explaining how the claimants had planned to lie about being in the taxi when the accident took place.
Aziz and Saleem both gave evidence on oath to maintain their story, despite Kazmi saying in court her letters were the truth.
It was only after the claims were dismissed, and the subsequent start of contempt proceedings, that the three admitted the allegations against them.
Following a one-day hearing in the High Court last week, Mr Justice Lewis said a custodial sentence was the only appropriate punishment for Aziz, Jamil and Saleem.
‘The system of justice in this country requires and depends upon people who bring claims and make statements in court proceedings acting truthfully and honestly,’ said Lewis.
‘The dishonest making of false statements undermines that system of justice. It undermines public confidence in the justice system. It strikes at the heart of the fair administration of justice.’