Russell-Cooke personal injury and clinical negligence partner Grant Incles recently represented Mrs Karen Preater in a clinical negligence case over vaginal mesh surgery performed on her at a hospital in north Wales in 2014. 

Wrexham County Court found in favour of Mrs Preater, and roundly dismissed allegations made by the defendant in this case, the Betsi Cadwaladr University Health Board, that the claimant had lied in the presentation of her case, as part of a Fundamental Dishonesty defence. 

Mrs Preater underwent vaginal mesh surgery in January 2014 - to which she had not been properly consented. The surgery itself was performed negligently and as a result she suffered a life-changing chronic pain condition. In late 2020, the defendant carried out intrusive video surveillance of Mrs Preater and trawled through her life on social media, proceeding to launch a defence of Fundamental Dishonesty pursuant to S.57 of the Criminal Justice and Courts Act 2015.

The defendant alleged that the claimant was seeking to lie to the Court about her ability to work and need for care and assistance which, if found to be correct by the Court, would have meant that Mrs Preater would have lost all of her claimed compensation, and which may well have led to an application by the defendant to have her committed to prison for her alleged dishonesty.

The case was fought to trial over seven days in July 2022. HHJ Howells found that Mrs Preater had not sought to deceive any party at any time and should be fully compensated for her grave suffering since being injured over eight years ago. 

Grant Incles, partner in the personal injury and clinical negligence team said "This is an emphatic victory for Mrs Preater, offering her complete vindication and the justice she deserves after such a long and horrific experience. The provision of s.57 is the most draconian of powers available to defendants in personal injury litigation. This was an example of a defendant wielding it unsparingly, with no acknowledgment of the possibility of an alternative explanation and complete refusal to engage in reasonable negotiation. It can only be hoped that HHJ Howell's careful judgment is a warning to future defendants to invoke this power judiciously, so that no other innocent claimant has to endure what Mrs Preater has been through."

The issue of fundamental dishonesty is a fast developing area in personal injury and clinical negligence claims and the team at Russell-Cooke is extremely proud to have been able to assist Mrs Preater in pursuing this important case.