A man who misled a court while working for his family’s solicitors firm could face a stretch in jail.
Peterborough Magistrates’ Court heard today (Thursday) that Edward Terrell (27), of Hargate Way, Hampton Hargate, told a county court in written documents that he had twice personally served papers on a man in a civil case.
The county court heard that Terrell, who was working on a freelance basis for the family firm Terrells Solicitors in Lincoln Road, had personally served papers on the man, 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 contacted him the man was not in attendance and was unaware of the hearing.
But when the man found out that the order had been imposed he wrote to the court and police with evidence that he had been at Alton Towers with his family on the day Terrell had claimed to have seen him.
Giles Beaumont, prosecuting, told the court that the deceit prompted a angry comments by judges in the county court.
Reading out the judges’ comments, he said: “It is completely and utterly unacceptable. It is bad enough on one occasion but this is on two occasions. I am afraid there is no excuse for it.”
Roger Terrell, principal solicitor at Terrells Solicitors, defending, told the court it was an honest mistake and there had been no financial gain.
The court was also told Terrell admitted perjury at the earliest opportunity and that he genuinely believed he had met the man, putting his mistake down to his paperwork.
Mr Terrell said: “He would put it down to a high volume of work he had at the time of the process.”
He added that it will have serious implications for future employment prospects.
The magistrates adjourned the hearing for much of today while they considered the case, which was described as “unusual” by both Mr Terrell and Mr Beaumont.
They heard arguments previous similar cases have concluded that “making false statements does strike at the administration of justice”.
The court heard defendants can expect to face a jail term, starting from three months.
Magistrates ordered an all options pre-sentence report from the Probation Service, to include the possibility of prison.
He is to return to Peterborough Magistrates’ Court on October 23 at 10am.