A UNIVERSITY graduate from Yorkshire was unfairly labelled a fraudster after being involved in a car accident, senior judges have ruled.
Father-of-two Basharat Hussain successfully appealed after a county court judge concluded he was involved in a “staged” collision near Bradford three years ago and had been a party to an attempted insurance fraud.
The Court of Appeal said evidence was not “sufficiently cogent” to justify an “inference of fraudulent complicity”.
Appeal judges heard Mr Hussain’s Ford Focus Ghia was involved in a collision with a Daewoo driven by Adil Hussain on a roundabout on the A647 between Bradford and Leeds early on January 7 2009.
Basharat Hussain said Adil Hussain had been negligent and claimed more than £5,000 damages – for car repair and “soft tissue injury to the neck”.
But insurance firm Aviva suggested the collision had been “staged” and Basharat Hussain had been complicit in a dishonest insurance claim.
Judge Shaun Spencer QC ruled in Aviva’s favour, following a trial at Bradford County Court last November, and dismissed Basharat Hussain’s damages claim.
The judge said it was “as plain as a pikestaff that there was dishonest mischief afoot”. He had no doubt that the “man giving the name of” Adil Hussain was involved in a “crash for cash type fraud”, and added: “It only makes economic sense if the two are in concert.”
Basharat Hussain challenged the ruling. He said he was of “positive previous good character”, had no convictions, had studied law at Bradford University and hoped to work in the legal profession.
Yesterday three appeal judges allowed his appeal.
“It is well known that staged collisions have in recent times been a problem for the insurance industry,” said Lord Justice Davis.
“One can readily see how Aviva’s suspicions were aroused. But in my view the judge was wrong to draw the inference that Basharat Hussain had been party to the attempted fraud in the way that he did,” he said.
Judges said Basharat Hussain and Adil Hussain were not related.
The ruling comes amid anger over the size of car insurance premiums in parts of Bradford which are among the highest in the country due to a major problem of staged collisions.