horwich farrelly

Fraudster sentenced to six months imprisonment over bus crash scam

June, 18, 2019

Judge calls case ‘an assault on our system of justice’ as Horwich Farrelly disprove spurious claim.

Horwich Farrelly, in conjunction with leading public transport operator First Bus, have successfully  secured the conviction of a fraudster who claimed to have been severely injured when a bus collided with his car, despite not being in the vehicle at the time as proved through video evidence. Mr Zadar Iqbal, an unemployed individual, aged 45, was sentenced to six months imprisonment.

The initial claim was made on 6 July 2015 when a First Bus vehicle collided with Mr Iqbal’s stationary vehicle on Bedminster Parade, Bristol, causing minimal damage. Mr Iqbal claimed he was sat inside his vehicle during the accident, and subsequently suffered from severe pain to his shoulder, leg, back, ankle, upper leg and right side of his chest, despite it only being a small collision. Allegedly, he also sought out medical advice from his GP, as-well as trips to A&E for a range of X-rays. Furthermore, he claimed that he suffered with severe sleep disruption following the incident, as-well as having to refrain from social activities and struggling with his personal care.

He later stated that he was not aware of the medical claims he was making due to a language barrier, but it emerged that the medical expert he used to produce a report for his claim spoke Punjabi and Urdu, which is Mr Iqbal’s native language. The medical expert even provided a statement confirming Mr Iqbal was fully aware of why he was there and was able to describe his ‘injuries’ with full understanding.

Investigations conducted by Horwich Farrelly on behalf of First Bus found that Mr Iqbal was not seriously injured in the collision as he was not even inside of the vehicle. This was proved through CCTV footage which displayed Mr Iqbal standing outside of his car and chasing the vehicle after the incident.

Horwich Farrelly and First Bus filed a defence against the claim in April 2016. Upon hearing the evidence against him Mr Iqbal attempted to discontinue the claim, however First Bus set aside the discontinuance and Mr Iqbal was found to be fundamentally dishonest and ordered to pay all First Bus costs, which were estimated to be in excess of £30,000. The judge also found that Mr Iqbal actively sought to progress his claim by querying the engineers report, and corresponding with his solicitors; a stark contrast to his assertion that he felt pressured to bring a claim by an accident management company.

Permission was also granted to bring committal proceedings against Mr Iqbal for contempt of court. The hearing was held at Bristol Crown Court on 24 May 2019 where Mr Iqbal admitted to nine instances of contempt against the court. The admission came just days before the trial, despite the case being on-going since 2015 and resulted in him being sentenced to six months imprisonment.

Man behind bars

Commenting on the case, Julie Randle, Fraud Prevention Officer for First Bus’s in-house claims team, said: “Attempted frauds against our companies will not be tolerated. Mr Iqbal had nearly three years to admit to his actions, but greed took precedence. He gave no consideration to the effects of his actions on the travelling public or anyone else. As this case demonstrates, First Bus will take whatever steps are necessary to defend fraudulent claims through the courts and in Mr Iqbal’s case that has resulted in six months’ imprisonment, a criminal record and fines totalling tens of thousands of pounds.”

Ronan McCann, Managing Partner at Horwich Farrelly, added: “It was right and proper that the courts took a hard line against Mr Iqbal. Despite having plenty of time to admit his claim was false he persisted in pursuing First Bus.  A case of this nature demonstrates the very real consequences of making a fraudulent claim. It also underlines the commitment of Horwich Farrelly to continue to work with the industry to combat fraudulent cases and ensure that honest customers do not suffer from the dishonest actions of others.”

In summing up the case at Bristol Crown Court, HHJ Lambert said: “These cases are an assault on our system of justice…Dishonest claims strike at the heart of the fair administration of justice. The impact of false claims on society is great. Those who bring false claims should expect to be sent to prison. The Respondent’s conduct was serious, persistent and wilful. Only a custodial sentence can be justified bearing in mind the threat to justice.”

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