VANCOUVER - A couple who lied to the provincial insurance agency in hopes of saving barely $800 in premiums has instead been ordered to pay the Insurance Corporation of British Columbia more than $200,000.

In imposing the judgment on Bahadur and Amarjeet Panag, of Surrey, Justice Christopher Grauer wrote "rationality is seldom the partner of deception."

He found the Panags began lying one day after a May 2, 2006 crash, arranging for a friend to claim he was an independent witness to the collision, which occurred when Amarjeet Panag missed a stop sign at a busy intersection and was T-boned by an oncoming vehicle.

The friend, Harinder Grewal, whom Grauer refers to as a "self-confessed liar," never saw the crash but mirrored Panag's claim that the oncoming car had blown through a pedestrian-operated red light, hitting Panag as she and two other vehicles crossed the intersection.

Grauer sides with another witness and the driver of the oncoming car, who reported Panag's vehicle never slowed for the stop sign.

The judgment finds ICBC can recover the $188,722.86 in costs and damages, pre-judgment interest and a further $10,000 in punitive damages against each of the Panags, for sticking to their doctored story throughout the trial.

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