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September 2020
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BLM acts for local authority in defending bogus claim

Berrymans Lace Mawer LLP (BLM) has successfully defended local authority, Oldham Metropolitan Borough Council (Oldham MBC) in a personal injury case brought by John Maybury, which led to the conviction of the claimant and his witness for perjury.

Manchester Crown Court heard that Maybury sought compensation from his local authority, Oldham MBC, after sustaining injury as a result of falling down a flight of steps in 2004. He alleged that he had fallen because of loose flagstone paving on the steps. Maybury asked his friend, Jason Costigan to support his claim by telling the court that he saw him fall as a result of defective steps. However, at trial another witness advised the court that Jason Costigan had not been present when she had seen the claimant moments after his fall. When Jason Costigan was cross-examined he initially maintained the claimant’s story before subsequently admitting that had not been present when the accident occurred.

The recorder for the court found that the claimant had simply lost his balance and slipped on the steps, which were maintained appropriately by Oldham MBC. John Maybury and Jason Costigan had therefore brought a bogus claim. The claim was dismissed and Oldham MBC was awarded its costs.

Following the failed compensation claim the matter was investigated by the police who brought charges of perjury, willfully proving false statements and fraud against John Maybury and Jason Costigan. Both pleaded guilty to these charges. John Maybury received a prison sentence of six months in jail, whilst Jason Costigan was given four months for perjury.

BLM associate Paul Tarne acted for Oldham MBC. Commenting on the judgment, he said: “Our client’s are acutely conscious of the need to combat fraudulent claims. BLM is supporting clients through sophisticated investigations to help identify bogus claims and to ensure that those with genuine claims are suitably compensated.”

Sentencing, Judge Jeffrey Lewis said, “It has to be understood that if people lie in court on oath and that has resulted in prosecution in relation to that, that serious consequences follow.

“It goes to the heart of our judicial system that people should tell the truth. It goes to the heart of all we stand for that when you come before the court, that you take an oath to tell the truth and that is what you do.?

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