Even Couples with Children can Receive Prison Sentences for Fraud [1st Mar 2012]
A woman who claimed she suffered whiplash injuries in a car accident has been jailed for contempt of court after it was found that that car accident did not take place. Samina Bashir admitted that she made a false declaration for £5,000 in compensation after she said she was in a car crash involving three cars. Her husband was also jailed because he supported her claim. The insurance company, LV, launched a private prosecution against the pair in the first case of its kind in the UK. LV say that they could have been looking at a payment of £75,000 and took action after it was discovered that the accident was fictitious. The judges in the case stated that the six week jail sentence should send out a message to others who are thinking of committing similar crimes. The couple were also held in contempt of court after they failed to appear for their trial for the compensation claim. The claim was dismissed and LV started contempt proceedings. The couple have a four month old baby and an older daughter who will be looked after by their grandparents who have received suspended sentences due to their involvement in the fraud.
A cyclist from Berkshire is to receive £4,000 in compensation after he was injured when he hit a pothole and was thrown from his bike. James Tarrant took action against the Buckingham County Council after his accident in 2008. He suffered injuries to his arm and was forced to have a tooth extracted. It was agreed that the council had failed in their duty of care by not fixing the pothole. Mr Tarrant has commented that although he had lights on his bike, the street was poorly lit. This meant he was unable to see the pothole which was quite deep and was not marked or covered. He hopes that his case serves as a reminder to cyclists and councils about the dangers of potholes to all road users. The council have stated that they would like to see more cyclists use their roads.
Two cases which were brought to the UK Court of Appeal by disabled travellers have been dismissed as it was agreed that the principle of law which was used was correct. In one case Tony Hook had claimed that British Airways had not made reasonable efforts to meet his seating needs. However it was found that an EU regulation on reduced mobility and disabled rights was not sufficient grounds for a compensation claim to be sought. The Court of Appeal upheld the Montreal Convention which allows for the provision of disabled people on an aircraft. Human rights campaigners have said that the decision could mean that anti-discrimination legislation might not apply to in-flight disputes regarding disabled passengers. The EU law states that disabled people should have equality of travel with assistance provided free of charge. There is a right for penalties to be given to airlines who fail to provide this. However in the UK a penalty scheme is not in place.
Farmers in the UK are yet to hear if they will receive a compensation payment if they lose lambs to the recent outbreak of Schmallenberg virus. The infection which has been diagnosed in both sheep and cattle and has caused birth defects and miscarriages on 74 farms in the UK is thought to have originated in Germany and the Netherlands last year. It is spread by midges, mosquitoes and ticks. Defra have said that while it is understandable that farmers should be worried, there is no need for panic. This is despite some farmers losing up to a quarter of their lambs. It is also thought that the virus has been under-reported as only around one in five farmers had bothered to report cases they had seen as it is not compulsory to do so. The National Farmers Union have also pointed out that no one seems to know much about the virus or how it might spread. The National Sheep Association has pointed out that there is no compensation currently available and it would not be covered by insurance as it is a new disease. This is inevitably mean price rises for consumers.
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