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Claimant’s damned lies in respect of vehicle repair and credit hire claim result in prison sentence

14th Feb, 2018 / Legal & Law Firm, News

It is said that sequels are rarely better than the originals on which they are based, and it is true that the county court decision in John Vernon v…

Tuffnells Parcels Express Limited v John Vernon

Background

It is said that sequels are rarely better than the originals on which they are based, and it is true that the county court decision in John Vernon v Tuffnells Parcel Express takes some beating.

In that case, Mr Vernon contended that his Audi Q7 had been damaged in a road traffic incident involving a Tuffnells’ vehicle. That gave rise to a claim for the pre-accident value of the Q7 and significant credit hire charges, incurred with Direct Accident Management (“DAM”).

At trial in November 2016, Recorder Poole QC made six findings of dishonesty and dismissed the claim. Read more about that case.

However, the story does not end there. In view of the depth of Mr Vernon’s lies, Tuffnells was keen to pursue committal proceedings against him and so the sequel was born.

The issues

In the case, filed in the High Court, Tuffnells made various allegations of contempt against Mr Vernon which included:-

  • By knowingly concealing the existence of documents relating to the repairs and disposal of the Q7 and documents relating to the insurance and apparent ownership by him of other vehicles during the credit hire period, he had committed the contempt of making a false disclosure statement
  • By dishonestly contending, in a formal reply to the allegation of fraud and replies to written questions, that he had disposed of the Q7 in its damaged state and that he was not insured to drive, and did not have access to, any vehicle during the hire period, he had committed the contempt of making false statements of truth

Mr Vernon denied the allegations. He sought, principally, to blame his son for the false evidence which had been provided. He attempted to dissociate himself from what had happened to the Q7 after the alleged accident and he maintained that he did not have access to any vehicles during the hire period.

He also made the observation that his solicitors, Armstrongs, had signed the statement of truth that accompanied his reply to the allegations of fraud and replies to written questions.

The trial

By the time of the High Court trial on 5 February 2018, Mr Vernon had new legal representation and he had taken time to reflect on the allegations which had been made against him.

He accepted that he had signed a disclosure statement which he knew to be false. He knowingly made no mention of documents pertaining to the Q7 repairs or its disposal. He also accepted that he had concealed ownership and insurance documents relating to a Ford bearing his private plate, which was owned by him during the hire period.

He further accepted, in respect of the reply and replies to questions, that he signed statements of truth or caused to them to be signed when he knew that what he was signing contained falsities. In particular, he had denied the Q7 had been repaired and maintained it had been written off, which he knew was untrue. He had also denied having access to any vehicles, when he knew that he had access to the Ford, which was insured in his name… READ FULL ARTICLE

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