2nd September 2016
Marcus Grant (instructed by Hamida Khatun of Keoghs LLP) appeared for the Appellant.
The Defendant appealed a decision of DJ White in an alleged slam on case. The Defendant pleaded a detailed fraud Defence in a suspected slam-on case that included allegations of bogus passenger claims, a suspicious claims history and inconsistencies between the pleaded case and that intimated in the Claim Notification Forms from the three alleged occupants in the Claimant’s car. The Claimant turned up at trial with an interpreter, having given no prior indication that he had not read or understood the seven documents appended with his statement of truth. The Court permitted him time to have each document translated to him by the interpreter before the trial commenced. In a short ex tempore judgment the Judge indicated that he was not satisfied that the collision was a staged accident because there was insufficient evidence of any conspiracy between the Claimant and the alleged decoy car driver. In summary the Judge stated that he preferred the Claimant’s evidence to that of the Defendant whom he found gave his evidence in a didactic way.
HHJ Clark, sitting in Luton, allowed the appeal finding that it was unclear to her from the reasoning of the judgment why the Defendant had lost. The DJ failed to address the critical evidential issues in the Defendant’s case and make findings on them, before concluding that he preferred the Claimant’s evidence to the Defendant’s evidence. In the context of a clear pleading of fraud, properly put to the Claimant in cross-examination, the Court could not duck making findings on the critical issues, and could not make findings on burdens of proof until sufficient findings on those issues had been made.
Appeal allowed. Matter to be reheard by a different Judge.