A father of three who tried to claim £15,000 for a personal injury has been sentenced to 12 months in prison for fabricating his road traffic accident claim.
The High Court heard Bernard Parmar made or caused to be made six separate false statements of truth following the collision between a Jaguar and a Vauxhall Corsa in the West Midlands in September 2012.
Parmar claimed damages for a whiplash injury but his claim was contested by insurer AIG Europe on the basis that it was fraudulent.
The case went to trial at Walsall County Court in July 2015 where Parmar and two supporting witnesses were cross-examined. By the second day Parmar had stopped attending the trial and his counsel and solicitors withdrew for want of instructions.
In his subsequent judgment, His Honour Judge Gregory said the claimant was a ‘patently and persistently dishonest’ witness who repeatedly avoided questions, obfuscated, paused to give himself time to think and when all else failed simply said he could not remember.
‘I unhesitatingly have come to the view that this is indeed a fraudulent claim,’ said Gregory. ‘The manner in which it has been pursued must mean that there has been a conspiracy to pervert the court of justice.’
Following the dismissal of the claim, AIG made a committal application in relation to a false statement of truth.
His Honour Judge Robert Owen QC, (pictured) sitting as a judge of the High Court, heard one statement of truth contained nine pages of ‘utterly false detail’. Another suggestion, that the force of the collision was enough to shear off the steering wheel, was ‘ludicrous’.
Parmar’s legal team attempted to argue for a suspended sentence on the grounds that prison would adversely affect his family.
But Owen said this was a ‘carefully planned fraud’ that attempted to deceive a trial judge and to undermine the legal process.
‘This is not and would not have been a victimless crime for such unlawful conduct,’ said the judge.
‘The reality is that had you succeeded innocent persons would end up being adversely affected financially.
‘Not only that, by having to pay higher premiums the insurers themselves have suffered a significant financial outlay which they have been unable to recover and which doubtless in due course may in part be passed on to ordinary law-abiding motorists.
‘It is well understood by the public and people like you who decide knowingly to attempt to defraud and undermine the legal system that those who undertake this behaviour may expect a sentence of imprisonment.’