Newsflash: Immediate custodial sentence for those who commit fraudulent claims against the NHS
In this landmark case, Sandip Atwal has been sentenced to three months in jail for his deliberate attempt to defraud the NHS and deceive the Court. He has also been ordered to re-pay £75,000 in legal costs. Sentence was passed on 01.06.18.
The decision comes after Hempsons Solicitors, instructed by NHS Resolution on behalf of CHNHS FT, recently succeeded in establishing that Mr Sandip Atwal was in contempt of Court on 14 grounds for grossly exaggerating the effect of minor injuries and fraudulently claiming compensation against the NHS.
Having taken account of a range of aggravating and mitigating factors; not least the fact that this was a claim against the National Health Service, which, if successful would have resulted in a loss of precious public funds, Mr Justice Spencer remarked:
“…My firm and clear conclusion is that a sentence of immediate custody is necessary to mark these serious contempts, and to deter others. I am satisfied that appropriate punishment can only be achieved by an immediate custodial sentence…”
For many years, the Senior Courts have made it clear that those who submit false claims must expect to go to prison. This welcome decision simply highlights the extremely serious consequences of submitting dishonest and exaggerated claims. The closing remarks of Mr Justice Spencer reiterate how important it is that everyone appreciates that false claims undermine the administration of justice in a number of serious ways; damaging our system of adversarial justice and taking up a great deal of court time and precious resources.
The NHS is not an easy target and should not be looked upon as such. However, it is of equal importance to recognise that those who pursue genuine claims will be properly compensated.
At the sentencing hearing in this matter, the Trust was represented by Chloe Davies of Hempsons and James Todd of 39 Essex Chambers.
Our previous article on this topic can be viewed here: https://www.hempsons.co.uk/news-articles/contempt-court-grossly-exaggerated-claim-nhs-trust/
The covert surveillance footage of Mr Atwal can be viewed here: https://vimeo.com/272947704
In 2008 Mr Atwal was injured in an attack and went to Huddersfield Royal Infirmary. He was treated for fractures to the index finger of his right hand and the ring finger of his left hand, and a laceration to his lower lip.
Calderdale & Huddersfield NHS Foundation Trust v Atwal judgment – 27 April 2018: https://www.judiciary.gov.uk/wp-content/uploads/2018/04/calderdale-v-atwal-judgment-with-appendix.pdf