Man Sentenced to Jail for Forging Mother’s Will in UK
Girish Dahyabhai Patel confessed to lying under oath and exercising influence over witnesses during the trial.
A man of Indian origin found guilty of forging his dead mother’s will has been sentenced to a prison term of one year in the United Kingdom.
Girish Dahyabhai Patel, a 65-year-old accountant based in London, was found guilty of lying under oath on Dec. 8. Patel had earlier this year used a blank sheet of paper, which had the signatures of his deceased mother, and printed a document around it that claimed that she had left him a stake in the family’s business. He said that the will left him a £40 million stake in the £160 million palm oil plantation business in Malaysia.
Patel, who sits as an arbitrator in disputes, was left facing legal costs estimated at £1.3 million.
Justice Marcus Smith held him in contempt of court and sent him to Pentonville Prison in London for 12 months on Dec.8, The Times reported. “Girish is a chartered accountant and sits as an arbitrator. I would, in the normal course of events, expect such a witness to be reliable and trustworthy,” the judge said.
He added: “However, Girish is a self-confessed liar and even when accepting that he had lied to the court, there was a certain insouciance in his responses which increased rather than allayed my concerns as to his reliability generally.”
The judge said that Patel had confessed that the “detailed factual account” of his mother signing the will that he gave under oath “was false.”
Patel’s claim was challenged in court by his brother Yashwant, a New York-based doctor. Detailed forensic analysis revealed that the document was forged. Earlier, at the High Court in London in February, Judge Andrew Simmonds found the will to be a forgery. He had instead upheld a previous will, made in 1986, which left everything to Yashwant.
The judge said that Patel had “exercised influence” over important witnesses in the trial, and had supported a lying case with affidavits, witness statements and oral evidence.
Patel has agreed to pay £450,000 of his brother’s legal costs, while his own are estimated at up to £750,000.
Yashwant has inherited everything from Prabhavati Dahyabhai Patel, their mother, who died at the age of 88 in 2011.
The brothers had fallen out in 2009 over the family’s Malaysian business. After their mother’s death, Yashwant produced the will. But Patel produced another will that he claimed was signed by his mother in 2005, on a visit to London from her home in Singapore, in a bid to overturn the will produced by his brother.
However, Patel’s account was dismissed by the court after it emerged that the signature came before the rest of the text in the document.