FUNDAMENTAL DISHONESTY FOUND WHEN AN INVOICE WAS DOCTORED: NOT EVERYTHING CAN BE SAID WITH FLOWERS
I am grateful to barrister William Rankin for sending me a copy of the judgment of Recorder Knifton KC in Hamblett -v- Liverpool Wholesale Flowers Limited (Liverpool County Court, 23rd January 2023) a copy of which can be found here Hamblett. The case involves a finding of fundamental dishonesty in a personal injury claim. The claimant was found to have doctored an invoice, said to be produced by the defendant, in an attempt to damage the credibility of a witness. This was found to be an act that went to the root of the claim and QOCS was disapplied on the grounds of dishonesty.
The claimant, a professional florist, was injured when attending the defendant’s wholesale market. She brought an action for damages for personal injury. Her case was that she slipped on water on the floor of the market. The defendant asserted that there was some other cause and it was not negligent.
THE “DOCTORED” INVOICE
Shortly before trial the claimant produced an invoice, said to be produced by the defendant, which sought the costs of the flowers that were damaged in the claimant’s fall. The defendant denied producing the invoice. Extensive steps were taken to show that the invoice adduced was not genuine and could not have been produced at the time alleged by the claimant. The judge accepted that the invoice was not authentic.
The claimant failed to establish the cause of her fall and she failed on liability. The judge considered that there was evidence of dishonesty, partly in relation to exaggeration of the claim, but also in relation to the faked invoice.