A motorcyclist who made false claims against Metroline totalling over £50,000 when his vehicle was damaged in a collision with one of its buses was jailed for nine months in late 2023 after refusing to engage with contempt proceedings brought by the operator.
Diego Barbosa Araujo was also ordered in his absence to pay £60,000 in costs to Metroline after the ComfortDelGro subsidiary expended “substantial resources” on multiple adjourned hearings.
Mr Araujo had claimed £50,237 as the pre-accident value of his motorcycle, the hire costs of a replacement between the incident in January 2019 and November of that year, and other charges. He also claimed £649 for a mobile phone and helmet that he said were damaged in the accident, the court judgement shows.
When asked to provide the damaged bike for inspection, Mr Araujo falsely claimed that it had been sold and scrapped. Metroline used on-bus CCTV to demonstrate that damage could not have been caused by the collision. The claimant discontinued his case as a result.
Metroline then brought contempt proceedings against Mr Araujo on the basis that his claim was fraudulent. The operator says that the collision was “minor.”
Mr Araujo was convicted of six counts of contempt after failing to engage with what the bus operator adds was “a lengthy court case.” It was found that Mr Araujo had knowingly made false statements and interfered with the due administration of justice.
Judge Richard Roberts ruled that the harm caused to Metroline by Mr Araujo was high and that the operator incurred over £96,000 of costs in defending his claims. Substantial judicial resource was also wasted on adjourned hearings.
His Honour Judge Roberts notes that there has been “no acceptance of responsibility, no apology, and no contrition” from Mr Araujo, adding that the guilty party aggravated his contempt by failing to attend five hearings and avoiding arrest after a warrant was issued.
A spokesperson for Metroline says that the operator “absolutely will not tolerate fraudulent claims,” adding that the sentence “serves as a strong message demonstrating the potential consequences for people if they attempt to make a fraudulent claim against Metroline.”