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Havering London Borough Council v Bowyer and Others, The Divisional Court, 27 July 2012

16 August 2012
The issues

Fraud – contempt – dishonesty – committal

The facts

The defendant to the application of contempt brought by the London Borough of Havering had brought a claim for personal injury which was fraudulent. The fraud was described by the Divisional Court as “unsophisticated” and involved the claimant, the claimant’s father and another. The claimant, Mark Bowyer, admitted and claimed to be the prime mover. He was supported and influenced by his father who the court held to be the true driving force behind the continuing deceit. James Jones had played a supportive rather than the principal role. In respect of Mark Bowyer he had admitted his contempt albeit late in the day. The deceit was amateurish and as he had gone on in the deceit relying on his father’s counsel. In respect of James Jones, his contempt had also been admitted although only after advice. He had expressed to the court his unreserved remorse. He would not have obtained in all likelihood any financial advantage from the deceit but he had been prompted by a foolhardy desire to help Mark Bowyer. Richard Bowyer, the father had attempted to exculpate himself before the court. That attempt had itself been amateurish. He had been the driving force behind the continued attempt to deceive.

The decision

The administration of justice required parties to understand that truthfulness lay at the centre of litigation. Those who mocked that concept by their arrogance and avarice did not merely tilt the scales of justice but compromised the reputation and probity of courts when they reached decisions and made awards.

A prison sentence was inevitable in each case.

  1. In respect of Mark Bowyer the sentence would be two months.
  2. In respect of James Jones the sentence would be one month.
  3. In respect of Richard Bowyer the sentence would be four months.

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The content on this page is provided for the purposes of general interest and information. It contains only brief summaries of aspects of the subject matter and does not provide comprehensive statements of the law. It does not constitute legal advice and does not provide a substitute for it.

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