Hicks v Faulkner: 1878

Before charging a prisoner, a police officer must have ‘an honest belief in the guilt of the accused based upon a full conviction, founded upon reasonable grounds, of the existence of a state of circumstances, which, assuming them to be true, would reasonably lead any ordinary prudent and cautious man, placed in the position of the accuser to the conclusion that the person was probably guilty of the crime imputed.’
Once a plaintiff has established his imprisonment, the onus then lies on the defendant to ‘plead and prove affirmatively the existence of reasonable cause’.


Judge Hawkins


[1878] 8 QBD 167


England and Wales

Cited by:

CitedGlinski 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.’ . .
CitedOsman v The United Kingdom ECHR 28-Oct-1998
Police’s Complete Immunity was Too Wide
(Grand Chamber) A male teacher developed an obsession with a male pupil. He changed his name by deed poll to the pupil’s surname. He was required to teach at another school. The pupil’s family’s property was subjected to numerous acts of vandalism, . .
ApprovedHerniman v Smith HL 1938
The court considered the tort of malicious prosecution.
Held: It is the duty of a prosecutor to find out not whether there is a possible defence, but whether there is a reasonable and probable cause for prosecution. The House approved the . .
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 . .
CitedMatin v Commissioner of Police of the Metropolis CA 20-Jun-2002
The claimant sought to have restored his claim for malicious prosecution.
Held: ‘The fact that there might be an arguable case that the prosecutor was activated by malice, that is to say, to prosecute for an improper motive, does not of itself . .
CitedMcHarg v Chief Constable of Thames Valley Police ChD 9-Jan-2004
The claimant police officer sought damages for malicious prosecution. The defendant applied for the claim to be struck out.
Held: There was insufficient evidence to establish malice. The claim was struck out. . .
CitedRowlands v Chief Constable of Merseyside Police CA 20-Dec-2006
The claimant succeeded in her claims for general damages against the respondent for personal injury, false imprisonment and malicious prosecution, but appealed refusal of the court to award aggravated damages against the chief constable.
Held: . .
CitedMoulton v Chief Constable of The West Midlands CA 13-May-2010
The claimant appealed against dismissal of his claim for damages for malicious prosecution and misfeasance in public office. He had been arrested and held on allegations of serious sexual assaults, but then released when the matter came to the Crown . .
CitedBT v Crown Prosecution Service CA 16-Dec-1997
The plaintiff appealed against dismissal of his claim for malicious prosecution brought against the Service.
Held: Actions for malicious prosecution, against the Crown Prosecution Service are to be examined closely to ensure that they are not . .
CitedWilliamson v The Attorney General of Trinidad and Tobago PC 3-Sep-2014
(Trinidad and Tobago) The claimant had been held after arrest on suspicion of theft. He was held for several months before the case was dismissed, the posecution having made no apparent attempt to further the prosecution. He appealed against refusal . .
CitedMotasim v Crown Prosecution Service and Others QBD 15-Aug-2017
The claimant had been arrested on suspicion of terrorism, from his innocent association with people later convicted of terrorism. The defendant discovered evidence which would undermine the case against him, but refuse to disclose it. Eventually, . .
Lists of cited by and citing cases may be incomplete.

Police, Torts – Other

Updated: 16 May 2022; Ref: scu.183666