After a 5-day contested hearing, Mr and Mrs Fari 19 were found guilty of contempt of court in their conduct of her personal injury claim. Faced with the surveillance evidence and lately disclosed contents of the claimant’s solicitors files, the judge found the Faris in contempt of court in dishonestly representing to the defendant’s medico-legal practitioner that she was grossly disabled, when such was not the case, and that the Faris had dishonestly signed or caused to be signed witness statements and schedules of loss claiming damages exceeding £750,000. Their acts of contempt were that they interfered with the due administration of justice and verified false witness statements without an honest belief in their truth by having grossly and dishonestly exaggerated Mrs Fari’s trivial personal injury case and fraudulently presented a final schedule of loss which exceeded £750,000. Mr Fari was found to have materially and dishonestly supported her in her claim. On 8th November Mrs Fari, despite severe physical health problems and being primary carer for two disabled children, was sentenced to 3 months’ imprisonment whilst her husband received a suspended sentence of 2 months’ imprisonment, suspended for a year. The issues of knowledge and dishonesty had been hotly contested over 5 days.
Committals for contempt of court are increasing, relying on dicta of the Supreme Court in Summers v Fairclough Homes Ltd 20. A committal for contempt case is a criminal trial; permission of the court is required to issue; the applicant has to establish the case beyond reasonable doubt on evidence on affidavit supported by the oral evidence of the deponent. The maximumprison sentence is 2 years of which only half will be served. The sentence may be suspended and a fine and costs may be imposed before the issue of committal proceedings. Fari was the fifth committal heard in RCJ in a fortnight. In most the contempt is admitted and the hearing is confined to sentence.