JAILED: Man lodged fake £55,000 claim against council over hole in road

A man who tried to sue a council for £55,000 after falsely blaming a knee injury on a hole in a road has been locked up for six months.

Mohammed Yaqub Kabil was jailed by a High Court judge after finally admitting lying six years after making the false claim against Walsall Council.

The 53-year-old had alleged that he had suffered the knee injury when he slipped, tripped and fell due to a defect on a dropped kerb near his house on Old Park Road, Wednesbury, in April 2015.

While he had indeed injured himself, when the matter went to court he was found to have created a "ridiculous and convoluted" story in order to blame the injury on the damaged road.

Kabil lodged a claim to Walsall Council three months after the alleged incident happened, seeking £55,000 made up of care fees, lost income and travel expenses.

The local authority contested the claim and eventually the case went to trial at Walsall County Court in May 2019, where a judge ruled in the council's favour.

Judge Philip Gregory described Kabil as "a man so lacking in credibility that it is impossible to know what to believe" who was “wholly incapable of giving a clear account of how he came to fall". He said it was impossible to know where the injury had happened due to Kabil "latching" onto the defective part of the road "in order to seek to justify the claim".

Earlier this month - two years after the court hearing where the claim was decided - Kabil was sentenced for contempt of court at Birmingham Magistrates' Court where the High Court was sitting.

After delaying the hearing by initially not turning up, requesting an adjournment and then changing his mind and appearing in court, Kabil eventually admitted falsifying the personal injury claim and lying in witness statements.

Sentencing Kabil to six months behind bars, of which he will serve half, Judge Rajeev Shetty highlighted the fact Kabil had maintained the lies for six years as part of a "well-known game of pinning an accident or injury on an identifiable perceived hazard in the highway surface with the hope of a pay out."

He added: “The contempt in this case, and the seriousness of it, is a deliberate and dishonest attempt by the defendant to interfere with the administration of justice in order obtain damages from the claimant. This is not an embellished or exaggerated claim. Rather it is entirely fictitious.”

Judge Shetty said there was no doubt Kabil was injured, but that the injury had not been caused by the defected kerb.

Walsall Council has still not recovered its costs from Kabil - money the judge said could otherwise have been spent on repairing road surfaces.

Councillor Mike Bird, leader of Walsall Council said: “This is a very satisfying outcome for us and proves just how seriously Walsall Council and the High Court takes this type of personal injury fraud.

"I would like to thank the investigating council officers and the legal team at Browne Jacobson who worked very hard, over a considerable period, to assess and present this case in court.

“We will always scrutinise any suspicious claims and pursue and prosecute anyone who tries to wildly exaggerate a personal injury claim in order to gain money from the public purse.

“The judgement proves that anybody trying claim money from Walsall taxpayers by giving a dishonest and exaggerated account of injuries will not only see their day in court, they may well lose their liberty for it too.”

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