Wednesbury man sentenced to six months in jail for fabricating personal injury claim against local authority

Walsall Council has prosecuted a man for dishonestly bringing a claim worth £55,000 in damages and legal costs after making what the judge called an "entirely fictitious" personal injury claim against the local authority.

Earlier this month (11 June 2021), Mohammed Yaqub Kabil of Old Park Road, Wednesbury, received an immediate six-month custodial sentence with no suspension, the first of its kind for Walsall Council, after admitting all counts of falsifying a personal injury claim in the High Court. Kabil was also ordered to pay Walsall Council's prosecution costs.

In handing down the sentence at the committal hearing in Birmingham, the Judge, HHJ Rajeev Shetty, said: "The contempt in this case, and the seriousness of it, is a deliberate and dishonest attempt by the defendant to interfere with the administration of justice in order obtain damages from the claimant. This is not an embellished or exaggerated claim. Rather it is entirely fictitious."

The 53 year-old-man had brought the personal injury claim against the council back in 2015, after alleging he slipped, tripped and had fallen due to a defect on a drop kerb part of a pavement near his house, suffering an injury to his left knee.

Article continues below...

However, Walsall Council challenged Kabil's claim on the grounds that the defect he alleged caused his accident was not dangerous and was below the council's repair threshold.

At an earlier court hearing in 2019, after Walsall contested Kabil's claims, the judge, HHJ Gregory, dismissed his claim and ordered him to pay costs. In the hearing, evidence presented showed a number of inconsistencies relating to the circumstances pre- and post-accident, including how he fell, delays in seeking hospital treatment, inconsistent dates and a claim for loss of earnings whilst he was not engaged in employment.

Cllr Mike Bird, Leader of Walsall Council, said the outcome of the recent hearing was "very satisfying [...] and proves just how seriously Walsall Council and the High Court takes this type of personal injury fraud".

Cllr Bird added: "I would like to thank the investigating council officers and the legal team at Browne Jacobson who worked very hard, over a considerable period, to assess and present this case in Court.

"We will always scrutinise any suspicious claims and pursue and prosecute anyone who tries to wildly exaggerate a personal injury claim in order to gain money from the public purse."

Cllr Bird also said: "The judgment proves that anybody trying claim money from Walsall taxpayers by giving a dishonest and exaggerated account of injuries will not only see their day in Court, they may well lose their liberty for it too."

Paul Wainwright, partner and head of counter fraud services at Browne Jacobson, advised and acted for Walsall Council in the prosecution.

Mr Wainwright said: "This sentence and the comments of the judge should be a stark wake-up call to anyone who thinks it is acceptable to pursue fraudulent claims. As the judge rightly points out this claim has unnecessarily wasted the court and our client's valuable time and resources. Resources, which could have been used to deliver valuable public services. The sentencing shows that this type of behaviour simply won't be tolerated by the courts, leading to extremely serious consequences for individuals such as Mr Kabil."

Adam Carey

(c) HB Editorial Services Ltd 2009-2020