Simon McCann represents insurers who commit 2 men to prison for bringing fraudulent insurance claims

Simon represented Zurich Insurance in a contempt of Court application brought before the High Court in London. The underlying claim was that the 2 men (Mr Barnicoat and Mr Craze) had fallen down the same manhole that was missing its cover. The first had fallen in, dragging in his friend. The Police and paramedics attended the scene in the early hours of the morning, and found one of the two men pretending to be unconscious. Not wanting to take any risks, the paramedics took the men to hospital in different ambulances. The Police did not believe them to have been genuinely injured.

Despite all the evidence against them, the men maintained their lies at trial before a District Judge in 2017. They were found to be fundamentally dishonest.

Zurich launched a committal application and even though the men tried to evade service, permission was given.

Neither Barnicoat nor Craze attended the hearing of the contempt application in November 2020, when the Deputy High Court Judge found that they were in contempt of Court because they had lied about being injured, or had grossly exaggerated those injuries, which he felt was the more serious contempt.

That decision was reported as Zurich v Barnicoat & Craze [2020] EWHC Civ 3127 (QB)

The press were interested in the case, dubbing it “The Great Drain Robbery”:

Upon the relisted case coming back before him for sentence, the Deputy High Court Judge heard Mr Barnicoat’s application to purge his contempt. Because he had attended and apologised, Mr Barnicoat’s sentence of 6 months’ imprisonment was suspended for 2 years.

Mr Craze did not attend, and was sentenced to 6 months’ immediate imprisonment.

In front of the Judge, Simon said this:

"This was a sustained and deliberate attempt to embellish and lie about being injured in order to defraud the insurers. It was a determined and cynical scheme, whose aim was to alleviate apparent financial problems at the expense of others. They knew or didn’t care that the public services would be involved – they probably felt that this added credence to their claims. Finally, it was a lie maintained in front of the Court, with not a shred of insight or remorse. They do not seem to care or fear for any consequence. ML, this is conduct which the man in the street, reading about this case, would consider to be worthy of the sanction urged upon you by the authorities"

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