Updated, Thursday: A man from Peterborough misled a court while working for his own family-run firm of solicitors has been told by a judge that he could face a jail sentence.
Terrell, who was working on a freelance basis for the family firm Terrells Solicitors, in Lincoln Road, Peterborough, told the county court that he had personally served papers on the man in May this year, noting a description of him.
The court then imposed a non-molestation order, banning the man from contacting his ex-partner, but because Terrell had not served the papers the man was unaware of the hearing and did not turn up.
When the man found out that the order had been imposed he wrote to the court with police evidence that he had been at Alton Towers with his family on the day Terrell claimed to have seen him.
Terrell, who said the incident was an “honest mistake” which he put down to paperwork, was charged with two counts of making a false statement while under oath.
Terrell appeared at Peterborough Magistrates’ Court where prosecutor Sattam Al-Mugheiry said he had indicated guilty pleas to both charges.
Mr Al Mugheiry said: “This offence strikes at the heart of justice, because it is exceedingly rare.”
District Judge Peter Veits declined jurisdiction and told Terrell that the matter was so serious he would be sentenced at Peterborough Crown Court at a later date.
Judge Veits said: “We are looking at a custodial sentence of 12 months as a starting point, in my view this is well beyond the powers of this court.
“The reason for this is that the public need to have confidence in the justice system.
“If someone swears in court that they are telling the truth, the public has to have confidence that this process is being served effectively.
“In this case there was potential for someone to be injured and that is wrong.”
Roger Terrell, defending, said: “There can be no excuse, he accepts he did not personally serve the defendant and he accepts the consequences.
“There was confusion as he was preparing statements from notes and there was pressure on him at work.
“But he has admitted his error at the first opportunity, it was not planned or pre-meditated, it was a one-off from which he made no financial gain whatsoever.
“He has suffered financially and he will be barred from certain jobs.
“He has also suffered the indignity of publicity.”