22 May, 2008
Northern law firm Forbes Solicitors has successfully assisted Wigan Council in a fraud case which has highlighted a dramatic shift in the courts perception of insurance fraud.
David Cairns sued Wigan Council claiming to have broken his ankle in a pothole in the road and was successful in his initial claim, being awarded £9,200 in compensation. Further investigation by the Anti Fraud Unit at Forbes produced evidence that Cairns suffered his injury whilst playing 5 a side football at Wigan's JJB Soccerdome. Cairns was jailed for nine months after admitting obtaining property by deception and perjury. His nephew, Anthony Purves who came to court to give evidence in support of the claim was jailed for six months for perjury.
This result demonstrates a huge turnaround in the stance of the courts which in the past have taken a more moderate approach to insurance fraud.
Despite both pleading guilty, which might ordinarily have resulted in a more lenient sentence, the Judge at Liverpool Crown Court said "This is so serious it is my intention not only to punish you but to act as a deterrent in other cases."
Chris Booth, Anti Fraud Manager at Forbes comments, "The result is significant and very satisfying showing a definite change in the courts views on the seriousness of insurance fraud. The court has imposed a significant and lengthy custodial sentence when compared to past cases and sent out a clear message to the community which will hopefully make people think twice in the future. The fact that the court heavily punished the nephew who came to court just to back up the false story is also very pleasing and sends out the strongest possible message"
Perhaps the tide has turned?