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Forensic accountants on standby to figure out allegations of expert witness perjury

Member: Nifa

Forensic accountants are set to check out the financial impact of allegations that expert witnesses have made false claims that could add up, said a senior judge, to perjury ‘on an industrial scale’.


The allegations come amid a long-running battle between insurers and the credit hire companies who supply replacement vehicles to drivers involved in accidents. 


At the centre of the dispute is the evidence given by employees of research company Autofocus. Their expert opinions were seen as critical to advising the Courts over whether hire charges in civil claims between insurers and hirers were reasonable.


But, one hirer, Steve Evans of Accident Exchange, has discovered that evidence given by Autofocus and used to challenge his charges as ‘over-inflated’ and ‘unreasonable’ in one case, had been falsified. A court found that the Autofocus employee concerned, Helen Whysall, had lied on oath about the research that she presented. She was handed a twenty-eight day suspended sentence for perjury.


Now, after the courts granted Mr Evans access to Autofocus’ computers, he says he has discovered faked data in around twenty thousand cases involving forty different credit-hire firms. Some five thousand of the cases involving his own firm, Accident Exchange.


Seven more employees of Autofocus now face similar contempt proceedings to Whysall, and possible jail terms if found guilty, after a High Court judge agreed to allow the case against them to go ahead. 


Giving permission, Lord Justice Moses said: ‘If proved, it is difficult to think of a more serious conspiracy.’ He added: ‘we are talking about industrial-scale perjury.’


Autofocus, who are now in liquidation, were not available for comment.





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