The Police are due to launch an investigation into a senior partner at the City law practice of Healys, who stands accused of perjury.
If found guilty, Marios Pattihis faces a maximum penalty of seven years’ imprisonment.
Last week, the Master of the Rolls of the Court of Civil Appeals, Lord Phillips of Worth Matravers, and two other senior judges referred papers relating to the perjury allegations against Pattihis to the new Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) Kenneth Macdonald QC.
The DPP will refer the papers to the police station nearest to Healys’ London office at 3 Waterhouse Square in Holborn. A prosecution by the Crown Prosecution Service could follow the police investigation.
The Office for the Investigation of Solicitors is also due to launch an investigation.
The perjury allegations relate to Pattihis’s conduct while acting in a property dispute on behalf of Mohammed Ramzan Khokher against his former landlord, Arundel Corporation. The case centred on whether Khokher had served a counter-notice on time.
In April 2003, Arundel won its application to amend its grounds of appeal to include fresh evidence, which it claimed showed that Pattihis had lied in his written and oral evidence during the first instance trial on the counter-notice issue. This evidence was based on statements by two former Healys employees, Naresh Bahtia and Nawal Kumrai.
On 9 December, the Court of Appeal ruled that, on any basis, the counter-notice had not been served at the correct address in accordance with Khokher’s lease.
It also directed for “the papers concerning the allegations against Mr Pattihis be referred to the Law Society and the papers relating both to him and to Mr Khokher [who had claimed that the notice had been served at a different address] be referred to the DPP”.
The Court of Appeal added: “There is a public interest affecting the administration of justice, which needs to be investigated even though the dispute between the parties has been resolved.”
A Healys spokesman said: “These allegations are absurd and are categorically denied. Healys welcomes the opportunity to defend themselves against these outrageous allegations and has already referred the matter for a full inquiry to the Office for the Supervision of Solicitors (OSS).”
The Healys spokesman added: “These wild accusations have been made by two disgruntled former employees, with whom we are currently in dispute with in the employment tribunal. Their claims are being strenuously defended.”
Last Thursday (11 December) the Employment Tribunal reserved its decision as to whether to stay Kumrai’s claims that Healys owes him unpaid wages, a commission and a bonus pending the outcome of the investigations by the Law Society and the DPP.
Bathia, who has instructed Cherie Booth QC, is accusing Healys of constructive dismissal. His case is due to start in January.
Kingsley Napley, Khokher’s law firm, was unavailable for comment.