- Contempt—false statements—sentencing (Axa Insurance UK v Reid)
- What are the practical implications of this case?
- What was the background?
- What did the court decide?
- Case details
Dispute Resolution analysis: The defendant, Mr Reid, was involved in a road traffic collision in January 2018. In a witness statement in support of his claim for damages, he claimed never to have met the apparently independent witness, Mr Summers. AXA Insurance investigated, and discovered that in September 2017 Mr Reid and Mr Summers had in fact promoted a charity event together, with Mr Summers describing how Mr Reid had trained him for his first cage fight. Suddenly Mr Reid’s witness statement looked demonstrably false, and AXA initiated contempt proceedings. Having considered the seriousness of his contempt, his culpability and the harm caused or intended, Mr Reid accepted the case crossed the custody threshold. In deciding not to suspend the committal to prison, Mrs Justice Eady decided she would be failing in her duty to do justice more generally if an immediate term of imprisonment was not imposed, and committed Mr Reid to prison for eight weeks. Written by Alex West, barrister at Albion Chambers, Bristol.
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