Yorkshire DJ exaggerated injuries to defraud NHS of £800,000

Calderdale and Huddersfield NHS Foundation Trust had admitted liability
Calderdale and Huddersfield NHS Foundation Trust had admitted liability

A DJ who "deliberately and dishonestly" exaggerated the effect of his relatively minor injuries in a bid to defraud the NHS of £837,109 has been jailed for three months.

Sandip Singh Atwal, 33, from Huddersfield, received negligent treatment for his injuries - fractures of two fingers and a laceration to his lower lip - at Huddersfield Royal Infirmary after he was attacked with a baseball bat in June 2008.

Calderdale and Huddersfield NHS Foundation Trust admitted liability and offered Mr Atwal, who worked in his family taxi business, £30,000 to settle the case.

But he asked for £837,109, including very substantial sums for future loss of earnings and future care, on the basis he was unable to work and grossly incapacitated.

However, covert video surveillance commissioned by the trust's lawyers showed him working as a courier.

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His social media posts showed he was still performing as a professional DJ, under the stage name SunnyKMS, and in 2011 he launched a music video with another artist.

In what is believed to be the first case of its kind, the trust applied to have Mr Atwal committed to prison for contempt of court at the High Court in London.

After finding 14 allegations of contempt proved at a hearing in April, which Mr Atwal did not attend, Mr Justice Spencer jailed him for three months on Friday.

Mr Atwal, who now lives in Birmingham, looked solemn as he was led away from court in handcuffs by the tipstaff.

The judge said: "It needs to be clearly understood by everyone that false and lying claims undermine the administration of justice in a number of serious ways.

"The senior courts have made it clear that those who make false claims and get caught must expect to go to prison.

"There is no other way to underline the gravity of such conduct to those who attempt to make such claims."

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The judge said the case was "seriously aggravated" by the fact it was an attempted fraud on the NHS, as it would have been the NHS budget which "bore the loss" if his dishonest claim had succeeded.

Mr Atwal's deception came to light after solicitors acting for the trust were suspicious because his claimed disabilities were inconsistent with entries in the contemporaneous medical records.

In 2015, they commissioned covert video surveillance and investigated his social media postings which "gave the lie" to much of what he was asserting.

Their discoveries led to an allegation of fraudulent exaggeration and, in March 2016, Mr Atwal said he would now accept the offer made nearly five years earlier.

The whole of the £30,000 compensation was swallowed up in paying the trust's costs so that, after eight years of litigation, Mr Atwal came out with nothing and owing them £5,000.

On Friday he was also ordered to pay £75,000 towards the trust's legal costs of the committal proceedings, but Mr Justice Spencer said he doubted the trust will be able to recover all of that debt, "if any at all".

The judge said Mr Atwal had "buried his head in the sand" by failing to engage in the proceedings ever since his dishonesty was uncovered.

He claimed he knew nothing of the proceedings until recently and, through his lawyer, gave an apology for his actions.

Mr Atwal will be released after serving half of his sentence.