A solicitor found to have lied continuously about the handling of a personal injury claim has been found in contempt of court and jailed for 15 months by a High Court judge.
Kamar Abbas Khan, founder of Yorkshire firm Taylor Knight and Wolff Ltd, was found to have lied about letters, backdated file notes and forged his client’s signature – all to cover up a deception over the inflated claim.
Dr Asef Zafar, who provided medical evidence on the claim, was also found in contempt after allowing changes to be included in a revised diagnosis report. The doctor was given a six-month sentence, suspended for six months.
In his judgment published last week (see below), Mr Justice Garnham, described Khan as a ‘thoroughly dishonest man’ who had set out to mislead both the insurer LV= and the court.
During cross-examination, Khan was said by the judge to be ‘as comfortable and fluent’ advancing one version of events as another. When pressed in court on his responses, he explained he was 'blagging’ during his answers.
Garnham J said: 'I confess I found it extraordinary that a solicitor, facing a contempt of court allegation, should, even for a moment, think it sensible or appropriate to attempt to "blag" his way through his evidence.’
The contempt allegations related to a claim brought by a taxi driver following a road traffic accident in December 2011. Khan, a director of his firm, acted on behalf of the victim and arranged for a medical examination by Dr Zafar.
The initial report stated that the victim had fully recovered from his injuries within a week, but a second report orchestrated by Khan inflated the injuries to suggest they would last six to eight months.
This discrepancy was only revealed when a paralegal mistakenly submitted both reports to the court, prompting an investigation by the at-fault insurer LV=.
The claimant firm, which closed in 2016, had disclosed to LV=’s solicitors Horwich Farrelly only the exaggerated report, but the emergence of the first report confirmed that the taxi driver had fully recovered by the time of his investigation.
A handwriting expert confirmed that the victim’s signature was forged on a falsified witness statement, with the judge finding it was Khan who made the forgery. The judge added that assertions designed to support Khan’s version of events were ‘simply inventions’ by Khan, designed to mislead the defendants and the court in the personal injury action.
Ronan McCannn, partner at Horwich Farrelly, said a case of this nature was ‘unprecedented’ and the public’s trust in the medical and legal profession was severely let down. He added: ‘It took a herculean effort to get behind issues such as legal privilege and confidentiality but we managed to unearth a fraud and tackle professionals who sought to assist in the bringing of a fraudulent claim, focusing on profit as opposed to their overriding duties to the public and court alike.’
Khan is no longer on the roll.