A man who provided false medical documents to the courts as he faced legal proceedings has been jailed for three years.
John George Berry, aged 53 of Fontmell Magna, was sentenced at Bournemouth Crown Court on Thursday 5 April 2018 after admitting two offences of perverting the course of justice and failing to appear at court.
Berry was arrested in May 2016 on suspicion of perverting the course of justice in relation to giving false statement to police, claiming he was being harassed by a woman, which had resulted in her being arrested twice.
Berry was charged and admitted the offence on 15 August 2016 and was later bailed to attend Bournemouth Crown Court for sentencing.
However, due to him claiming to be too unwell to attend court, the Crown Prosecution Service eventually arranged for Berry to be examined by a neurologist.
An assessment was carried out at the defendant’s home on 7 June 2017, although the doctor was not given permission to access Berry’s medical records so his report was based solely on his examination. He concluded that Berry was well enough to attend court and a hearing was set for 4 September 2017.
However, the defendant again failed to attend, claiming to be unwell, and a further date was set for 30 October 2017. On that date he appeared at court in a wheelchair, apparently unable to speak or walk, and claimed to be suffering from a form of motor neurone disease called ALS (amyotrophic lateral sclerosis).
Berry was bailed to appear for sentencing on 24 November 2017 and attended, although the court was informed Berry was expected to be admitted to hospital shortly for further testing into his medical condition so the case was adjourned again to 15 December 2017 for him to provide further medical reports.
Berry attended on that day but when he was informed by his solicitor that police knew the medical records he had provided were fake, he left the court before being sentenced and a warrant was issued.
Letters were obtained by police that claimed to be from various medical professionals. Enquiries by officers established that the letters were fake.
On Wednesday 24 January 2018 Berry was arrested after his car was stopped near Iwerne Minster in North Dorset.
Detective Constable Jo Blackmore, of Weymouth CID, said: ‘John Berry tried to avoid being brought to justice by putting fake medical evidence before the court.
‘He has now been sentenced not only for the original offence, but also for a further offence of perverting the course of justice in relation to these false medical reports.
‘I hope this case demonstrates that if you try and cheat the criminal justice system you will be found out and face a more significant punishment.’