The claimant appealed against dismissal of his claim for false imprisonment and malicious prosecution against the Customs and Excise. He was arrested and held accused of VAT fraud. Proceedings were discontinued. He had signed an application for registration for VAT for a company for whom he worked as an independent agent. The judge concluded that the officers had an honest belied as to the apppellant’s guilt.
Held: The judge had failed to check the circumstances against the requirements of PACE. He found that the officer knew they had insufficient evidence to charge the appellant but found them to be honest in requesting that he be charged. There was however circumstantial evidence to support the idea that he knew of the VAT fraud. Whilst there may not have been sufficient evidence to support a charge, there was not evidence to say that the officers were dishonest in their beliefs. The appeal failed.
Smith LJ said that it is not necessary to test the full strength of a possible defence. ‘An officer cannot be expected to investigate the truth of every assertion made by the suspect in interview’
 EWCA Civ 616
England and Wales
Cited – O’Hara v Chief Constable of the Royal Ulster Constabulary HL 21-Nov-1996
Second Hand Knowledge Supports Resaobnable Belief
The plaintiff had been arrested on the basis of the 1984 Act. The officer had no particular knowledge of the plaintiff’s involvement, relying on a briefing which led to the arrest.
Held: A reasonable suspicion upon which an arrest was founded . .
Cited – Glinski v McIver HL 1962
The court considered the tort of malicious prosecution when committed by a police officer, saying ‘But these cases must be carefully watched so as to see that there really is some evidence from his conduct that he knew it was a groundless charge.’ . .
Cited – Howarth v Gwent Constabulary and Another QBD 1-Nov-2011
The claimant alleged malicious prosecution and misfeasance in public office against the defendant. He had been charged with perverting the course of justice. He had worked for a firm of solicitors specialising in defending road traffic prosecutions. . .
Lists of cited by and citing cases may be incomplete.
Customs and Excise, Torts – Other
Updated: 30 June 2022; Ref: scu.225327