15 May, 2017
Victoria Reis v The Co-operative Group
The claimant in this matter was forced to discontinue her claim after investigations confirmed that she was closely linked to a supposedly independent witness.
In 2014 the defendant's driver was involved in a road traffic accident. The claimant alleged that the defendant's vehicle had pulled out into her path causing the collision. The defendant's driver argued that the claimant was incorrect, he was turning right at a junction and the collision occurred because the claimant had attempted to overtake his vehicle.
The claimant submitted a statement from an independent witness which supported the claimant's version of events. The witness advised in the statement that she did not know either of the drivers concerned in the accident. However, upon close consideration of the statement it was noted that the witness had signed the statement with a different surname to the name provided in the main body of the statement.
This inconsistency prompted detailed database and social media searches which revealed that the claimant was linked to four addresses that the witness was also linked to and the claimant was also friends with the witness on social media. Forbes submitted a defence pleading the findings which quickly prompted the claimant to discontinue her claim.
This case demonstrates the importance of forensically reviewing witness statements and other documentation for inconsistencies to discredit the claimant and/ or the claimant's version of events. A slight error on the part of the claimant's witness led to the unravelling of the entire claim.