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Former Lord Mayor of Exeter found fundamentally dishonest in claim for alleged personal injuries in minor RTA in his year of office as Lord Mayor.

In the case of Newby v Smyth, heard by His Honour Judge Cotter QC, Designated Civil Judge for Exeter, Graham Williams secured a finding that the former Lord Mayor of the city had been fundamentally dishonest in bringing a claim for personal injuries allegedly arising in a minor RTA which occurred in October 2012, during which year he was Lord Mayor of the city.  

The former Lord Mayor brought his belated claim 19 ½ months after the incident (after his earlier vehicle damage claim had been rejected by the Defendant's insurers and after he had spoken to the Defendant's insurer asserting that the only injury suffered was to the Defendant's pride - despite this having been stated during a period when the Claimant's symptoms would have allegedly been so significant that he could not carry more than a loaf of bread and a packet of biscuits, if shopping).  

The claim was noted to have limped out of the blocks with limitation date issue and a four month delay for service. 

Mr Newby provided evidence which conflicted with itself as to whether he was or was not aware of damage to his vehicle at the time of the incident. It was also found that he had failed to disclose a previous significant neck injury to one medical expert and had misled another medical expert as to the nature of the neck problem he suffered from, before the incident in question. He was also found to have provided conflicting information as to whether he was or was not aware of his ability to claim for personal injury damages.  His assertions concerning recovery periods (to different medical experts and in his witness statement) were a cause for concern, with him apparently aligning his evidence with the changing medical position. 

The Claimant provided evidence (for the first time in Court) that the Defendant's vehicle had over-ridden his tow bar so as to cause damage to his rear bumper and to a spare wheel cover fixed to the back door of his Land Rover (despite the Defendant having described the incident as a mere "tap" and where there was no damage visible to the Defendant's smaller lighter vehicle and no explanation of how the Defendant's vehicle came to detach itself from the Claimant's vehicle. Additionally, there was nothing that the Claimant could see in photographs as representing the damage of which he complained).

Mr Rob Newby also denied having problems with road rage/ anger prior to the incident (it being the Defendant's case that Mr Newby was very aggressive at the scene) although such matters were established by two entries in his GP records citing aggression to other motorists, amongst other events of aggression.  Mr Newby's assertion that he had forgotten about his previous aggressive episodes was not accepted by the Judge.

The Claimant's account of having been "launched" off the seat in his parked vehicle by the incident, "punching" his feet down onto the pedals and having “jammed” on the pedals so that he broke the rear brake light switch was found to be exaggerated.  

It was also noted that Mr Robert Newby had not sought any medical treatment for his injuries, despite him obviously not knowing if and when he would recover, and when he had been a very frequent attender on his GP before the incident and had attended his GP for other matters following the incident.

Mr Newby was ordered to pay the Defendant’s costs on the indemnity basis following the dismissal of his claim and removal of his QOWCS protection. 

Crest with reference from Heraldry of the World