A man who accused his ex-wife’s solicitor of ‘wicked lies’ has failed in a bid to have him imprisoned for contempt. Mohamed Ahmed had accused junior lawyer Yasar Khan of making false statements in relation to his former partner’s whereabouts and said he had been ‘dishonestly complicit’ in an attempt to present a false case.
But the contempt application was thrown out as an abuse of process following a hearing last month, with Mr Justice Mostyn saying Ahmed’s objectives had been ‘illegitimate and ulterior’. Ahmed had urged the court to 'exercise its powers and apply the maximum punishment on this dishonest solicitor of imprisonment', but he later tried to row back on this and claimed he only wanted him removed from the case.
In Ahmed v Khan, the judge said to bring a contempt case Ahmed had a duty to serve the public interest.‘That requires the father to act generally dispassionately, to present the facts fairly and with balance and then let those facts speak for themselves, assisting the court to make a fair quasi-criminal judgment,’ he said. However even allowing for a measure of what he called ‘personal animus’, the judge said Ahmed had not met these.
The court heard that Ahmed brought a committal application following litigation which arose from the breakdown of his marriage when his ex-wife moved into a refuge with their three children.
In 2021, solicitors for the father made a written application for an order to require the mother’s solicitors, Lancashire firm Russell and Russell LLP, to disclose the whereabouts of the children. Khan wrongly assumed that the disclosure order applied to him rather than the firm. He made an application to discharge the disclosure order, stating that the mother had been a victim of domestic abuse and her address was confidential.
It was accepted that Khan did not comply with the disclosure order within the permitted timeframe and that he believed he was absolved from doing so.
In his committal application, the father tried to argue that the solicitor was colluding with his former wife to present a false picture. But the judge said Khan’s statement accurately reflected his instructions and that the charge of making a false statement was ‘complete baseless’.
The judge noted that this was the second time Ahmed had sought permission to bring committal proceedings against Khan. The first attempt was refused and this one was deemed to be ‘obviously ill-founded’ and made totally without merit.
The judge noted that it remained a ‘disturbing fact’ that the partners of Russell and Russell LLP did not comply with the disclosure order. He added: ‘It is extremely disquieting that a firm of solicitors, officers of the court, failed to comply with a clear and unambiguous order of the High Court.’
Khan applied for his £16,128 costs, but the judge opted to make no order.