In a landmark case – the first of its kind in the bus industry – the High Court has given jail sentences to a couple for contempt of court after an attempted insurance fraud.
In September 2014 an Abellio London bus collided with Amrik and Jakmit Ahuja’s car while making a slow turn at a junction.
Frances Whitehead, the Backhouse Jones Defence Solicitor who acted for Abellio London
The Ahujas alleged that the bus was going at 10-15 mph and jolted them both sideways casuing serious injuries.
Bus CCTV confirmed Abellio London’s assertion that the bus was travelling at no more than 5mph. A medical expert who examined the Ahujas argued that such a collision could not have caused the injuries described.
Despite this, the Ahujas maintained their position and at a personal injury trial in 2016, the judge agreed with Abellio London. The judge highlighted CCTV showing Mr Ahuja after the accident, where he did not show any signs of injury.
The Ahujas were given the opportunity to clarify that there had been a misunderstanding but declined. Their claim was dismissed due to “fundamental dishonesty” and they were ordered to pay Abellio London’s legal costs of £5,000.
Abellio London took the Ahujas to the High Court, arguing that their behaviour at trial meant they were in contempt of court for attempting to defraud the business.
In a ruling last week, the judge found the Ahujas guilty. Mr Ahuja was sentenced to 60 days in prison and Mrs Ahuja was sentenced to 28 days suspended for six months.
They were also ordered to pay Abellio’s £6,000 legal costs, on top of the original £5,000.
Frances Whitehead (pictured), Backhouse Jones Solicitor who acted for Abellio, says: “Defending claims involving large vehicles on behalf of operators is a specialist area of legal practice. This is just one example and demonstrates our robust approach in dealing with such matters.”
If this is an area of law which you require advice on, please contact Frances Whitehead on 01254 828300.