A paralegal who accidentally revealed the firm's role in a motor accident scam has been exonerated in the High Court, while his boss has been sentenced to 15 months in prison.
In 2011 Kamar Khan, the founder of a firm based in Leeds and Hudderfield called Taylor Knight and Wolff, took on the case of Mudassar Iqbal, a taxi driver who was seeking compensation from LV insurance after another car collided with his. Khan instructed a friendly doctor to examine Iqbal, but the resulting report described how Iqbal's injuries were limited to "mild pain and stiffness in the neck" which "resolved one week from the day of the accident".
Khan buried the report and ordered the medic to produce a new version which inflated Iqbal's injuries and stated that he was still suffering severe pain two months later.
All was proceeding to plan until a paralegal, Mohammed Ahmed, diligently dug up the first report and included it in the trial bundle. He sent it to LV's solicitors, Horwich Farrely, where solicitors quickly spotted the discrepancy and sounded the alarm. The subsequent unraveling of Khan's fraud and his attempts to disguise it resulted in 33 charges of contempt being brought against Khan, the doctor, a colleague and Ahmed.
During their trial, Judge Garnham pointed out that Khan was changing his story with remarkable ease, which Khan admitted was because he was "blagging" it. In his judgment, Judge Garnham said, "I confess I found it extraordinary that a solicitor facing contempt of court allegations, should, even for a moment, think it sensible or appropriate to 'blag' his way through his evidence".
He said that Khan was "simply lying", and had manufactured a file note, a witness statement and forged his client's signature multiple times in order to make the second report appear genuine. The only problem was that although Khan was a "thoroughly dishonest man" who "continued to lie" during the trial, Iqbal was also a massive fibber. It meant that the court could only find Khan guilty when the allegation didn't depend on his client's word.
Unlike his boss, Ahmed was "frank in admitting his mistakes", said the judge, and the paralegal was cleared of all charges. Finding that he did wrong "solely at the direction" of Khan, Judge Garnham said it was "perfectly clear that he was doing his best", and that his assumption that Khan was acting properly "was the product of inexperience and naivety".