An amateur footballer has been jailed for dishonestly trying to get the council to pay compensation over an injury he suffered on the pitch
Benjamin Grix sued the council for compensation of £10,000 claiming that the accident was caused when his foot went into a hole in the pavement caused by a missing water box.
But it later emerged that he had actually been injured playing football.
Law firm Weightmans, Doncaster MBC and insurers Zurich Municipal took legal action for contempt of court against the fraudster who injured his knee in September 2013.
Whilst investigating the validity of the claim, the council identified posts on Mr Grix’s Facebook profile indicating that he had suffered the injury when he was playing football. When the Facebook posts were highlighted in the council’s defence, the claim was swiftly withdrawn.
However, the council obtained permission to bring proceedings against Mr Grix for contempt of court and at a hearing in the High Court on 25 August 2017 Mr Grix admitted that the claim was fraudulent.
Mr Grix was today convicted of contempt of court for signing court documents with a statement of truth when he knew the facts were false. He was sentenced to four months in prison.
In passing sentence, High Court Judge Graham Robinson said that Mr Grix had told deliberate lies in an attempt to secure compensation and such fraudulent claims cost the insurance industry large sums of money every year.
He added: "The system of civil justice is so seriously damaged by this that people who make fraudulent claims must expect to be sent to prison”.
Fraudulent clims are something that local authorities take extremely seriously.
Coun Joe Blackham, Cabinet Member for Highways, Street Scene and Traded Services at Doncaster Council said:“Doncaster Council adopts a zero-tolerance approach to fraudulent claims. As this case demonstrates, the council’s insurance team will take all appropriate steps to investigate and pursue suspected fraud in order to ensure that public funds are protected”.
Peter Wake, Head of Local Government Claims at Weightmans and the solicitor for Doncaster MBC in this case said: “This is another important case for one of our local authority clients. It is vital that contempt cases such as this one are pursued as it is the only way to deter fraudsters and protect the public purse”.