TWO Worcestershire-based solicitors have been jailed for a total of six years’ and one month for their part in committing a fraud and perverting the course of justice.

Diljit Bachada, 45, was the principal solicitor at the law firm Hollies Solicitors.

The victim was employed by the firm, however, in August 2012 she resigned and there followed a dispute between the two parties about monies owed to the victim.

The victim received a county court claim made against her by the defendant for the breach of her contract of employment for the sum of £20,486.35, on May 17, 2013.

Attached to this claim were two contracts, each signed by Bachada and the victim. On closer inspection, the victim realised that she had never signed the documents.

The matter was reported to police who examined the contracts and discovered some anomalies.

It was noticed that the Law Society copyright at the foot of each page was incorrect and the clause stated in the contract did not come into force until July 2010, yet the documents had apparently been signed in January 2010.

Bachada was later arrested as was 41-year-old Tharinjit Biring who had assisted her by providing false information in a witness statement.

Following a six week trial at Bristol Crown Court, both defendants were found guilty – Bachada of two counts of fraud and two of perverting the course of justice - she was sentenced to four and a half years’ imprisonment on August 23.

Biring was found guilty of perverting the course of justice and sentenced to 19 months imprisonment.

Ian Crooks, senior crown prosecutor with West Midlands Crown Prosecution Service, said: “Diljit Bachada abused her position of trust and authority to try and manipulate a civil claim against her former employee.

"Tharanjit Biring assisted her by providing false information in a witness statement.

“Their fraud was uncovered when the victim became suspicious about a number of documents which were sent to her which appeared to bear her signature.

"Handwriting experts concluded that these were not her signatures and investigation also uncovered incorrect use of The Law Society copyright as well as inserting a law in the contract which had not even been introduced when the contracts were alleged to have been signed.

“Both of these two individuals have brought their profession into disrepute and they will now have to deal with the consequences of their actions.”

West Mercia Police Detective Sergeant Mark Morton said: "This has been a complex case that involved a detailed analysis of legal documents to establish that they had been falsified.

"Members of the public rely on those involved in our judicial service to be totally honest and incorruptible but the actions of Dijit Bachada and Tharanjit Biring has undoubtedly damaged that trust.

"I would encourage anyone who has any concerns as a result of this case to speak to police officers on 101."