Fitzpatrick and Others v The Commissioner of Police of The Metropolis: QBD 11 Jan 2012

The claimants, two solicitors and their employer firm sought damages alleging trespass and malicious procurement by police officers in obtaining and executing search warrants against the firm in 2007 when they were investigating suspected offences of money laundering. Clients of the firm had been arrested and convicted of drug dealing related offences. The firm was to be asked to act in a conveyancing matter. The solicitors told the police that they would inform the client of the approach, and if the client wished to proceed they would either seek consent to the transaction from the Serious Organised Crime Agency (SOCA), or, if the client objected, they would withdraw. The police officer said that the client should not be informed of their interest. Receiving instructions, the solicitor acted as requested, obtaining the SOCA consent, and notifying the police officer but not the client. Fuether notifications and conversations were held, and the client was coming under threat of violence. The officers sought arrest warrants against the solicitors, an arrest was made and search warrants executed. After many months on bail no action had been taken against the the claimants.
Held: All the claims failed. The court set out what must be established to justify the arrests – a genuine supsicion, a basis for that suspicion, sufficicient to a reasonable man, a genuine belief that an arrest was necessary, and a basis for that belief sufficient for a reasonable man in possession of the facts and the law.
Though there had been errors by the police there was intelligence to support the warrants, and the officer’s belief was genuine.
Here the first claimant had attended a former client at prison without informing his current representatives, and had made less than full disclosures to SOCA, even though acting in accordance with her understanding of the Guidance to the profession.
The officer’s belief was genuine and would have appeared proper to the reasonable man.
As to the arrests the officere belief in the nececssity fore the arrests was genuine and his actions would appear necessray to the reasonable man.

Globe J
[2012] EWHC 12 (QB)
Criminal Justice and Police Act 2001 50, Constables Protection Act 1750 6, Criminal Justice and Police Act 2001 50 52 59
England and Wales
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CitedBritish Basic Slag Limited v Registrar of Restrictive Trading Agreements CA 1963
The court considered the meaning of section 6 of the 1956 Act. It was argued that the trial Judge had erred in holding that an arrangement within the meaning of the expression exists when, by communications between the parties, ‘each has . .
CitedAssociated Provincial Picture Houses Ltd v Wednesbury Corporation CA 10-Nov-1947
Administrative Discretion to be Used Reasonably
The applicant challenged the manner of decision making as to the conditions which had been attached to its licence to open the cinema on Sundays. It had not been allowed to admit children under 15 years of age. The statute provided no appeal . .
CitedHussien v Chong Fook Kam PC 7-Oct-1969
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CitedHolgate-Mohammed v Duke HL 1984
A police officer had purported to arrest the plaintiff under the 1967 Act, suspecting her of theft. After interview she was released several hours later without charge. She sought damages alleging wrongful arrest. The judge had found that he had . .
CitedHayes v Merseyside Police CA 29-Jul-2011
The claimant had been arrested after a complaint of harassment. The officer then contacted the complainant who then withdrew his complaint. The officer went to visit the complainant to discuss it further. On his return the claimant was released from . .
CitedO’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 . .
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The six claimants sought damages for wrongful arrest and false imprisonment. Each had been arrested on an officer’s suspicion. They operated CCTV equipment, and it appeared that tapes showing the commission of an offence had been tampered with. Each . .
CitedRegina v Lewes Crown Court ex parte Hill 1991
Bingham LJ said: ‘The Police and Criminal Evidence Act governs a field in which there are two very obvious public interests. There is, first of all, a public interest in the effective investigation and prosecution of crime. Secondly, there is a . .
CitedRegina v Chief Constable for Warwickshire and Others Ex Parte Fitzpatrick and Others QBD 1-Oct-1997
Judicial Review is not the appropriate way to challenge the excessive nature of a search warrant issues by magistrates. A private law remedy is better. Jowitt J said: ‘Judicial review is not a fact finding exercise and it is an extremely . .
CitedGibbs and others v Rea PC 29-Jan-1998
(Cayman Islands) The respondent worked for a bank. He disclosed a business interest, but that interest grew in importance to the point where he resigned in circumstances amounting to constructive dismissal. His home and business officers were raided . .
CitedRegina v Chesterfield Justices and Others, Ex Parte Bramley QBD 10-Nov-1999
When police officers executed a search warrant, it was not proper to remove articles at large, in order later to sift through them, and then to return material not covered by the warrant. There is no absolute prohibition against removing articles . .
CitedKeegan and Others v Chief Constable of Merseyside CA 3-Jul-2003
The police had information suggesting (wrongly) that a fugitive resided at an address. An armed raid followed, and the claimant occupant sought damages.
Held: The tort of malicious procurement of a search warrant required it to be established . .
CitedBell v The Chief Constable of Greater Manchester Police CA 19-Jul-2005
The claimant had sued over the way he was treated by the respondent in a fraud investigation. The court had dismissed his claims for wrongful arrest and false imprisonment. A prosecution had been commenced but dropped. The judge had held the arrest . .
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The claimants sought to set aside warrants and executions under them to provide assistance to a foreign court investigating alleged unlawful assistance to companies in Bosnia Herzegovina.
Held: The issue of such a warrant was a serious step. . .
CitedKeegan v United Kingdom ECHR 18-Jul-2006
The claimant had been the subject of a raid by armed police on his home. The raid was a mistake. He complained that the English legal system, in rejecting his claim had not allowed him to assert that the police action had been disproportionate.
CitedBates and Another v Chief Constable of the Avon and Somerset Police and Another Admn 8-May-2009
The claimant had had computers seized by the defendant under searches despite his assertion that they contained legally privileged material. The claimant had been discredited as an expert witness in cases relating to the possession of indecent . .

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Torts – Other, Police, Legal Professions, Human Rights

Updated: 12 January 2022; Ref: scu.450312