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. A client and family members had been convicted of giving false evidence, after, following acquittal, material was disclosed suggesting that the claimant’s firm were aware of the falsity of the defence put forward. It was suggested by an officer that the client had then also implicated the claimant, and he was prosecuted.
Held: The claim failed. At the time of the decision the officers had adequate material to support ‘reasonable and probable cause’. Whatever their shortcomings) genuinely believed that there was a case fit to be placed before a jury.

Eady J
[2011] EWHC 2836 (QB)
England and Wales
CitedMartin v Watson HL 13-Jul-1995
The plaintiff had been falsely reported to the police by the defendant, a neighbour, for indecent exposure whilst standing on a ladder in his garden. He had been arrested and charged, but at a hearing before the Magistrates’ Court, the Crown . .
CitedAlford v Cambridgeshire Police CA 24-Feb-2009
The claimant police officer had been held after an accident when he was in a high speed pursuit of a vehicle into the neighbouring respondent’s area. The prosecution had been discontinued, and he now appealed against rejection of his claims for . .
CitedWilliams v Taylor 1829
No action will lie for the institution of legal proceedings, however malicious, unless they have been instituted without reasonable and probable cause. Tindal CJ said: ‘Malice alone is not sufficient, because a person actuated by the plainest malice . .
CitedLister v Perryman HL 1870
In a case alleging malicious prosecution, the existence of reasonable and probable cause is a question for the judge and not for the jury.
Lord Chelmsford said: ‘[T]here can be no doubt since the case of Panton v Williams, in which the question . .
CitedHerniman 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 . .
CitedTims v John Lewis and Co Ltd CA 1951
The plaintiff said that the defendant’s allegation against him leading to a prosecution which failed was malicious.
Held: Lord Goddard CJ said: ‘It is quite easy to imagine a case in which a person was thoroughly justified in bringing . .
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 . .
CitedRavenga v Mackintosh 8-May-1824
It is a good defence to an action for a malicious arrest, that the defendant, when he caused the plaintiff to be arrested, acted bona fide upon the opinion of a legal adviser of competent skill and ability, and believed that he had a good cause of . .
CitedDawson v Vansandau QBD 1863
The plaintiff, Dawson, a solicitor, had been charged by the defendant with conspiracy to defraud, in the form of collusion with a client and others to defraud the client’s creditors. When the charge was first laid, the only evidence available to the . .
CitedJohn Lewis and Co Ltd v Tims HL 1952
There had been an arrest by shop detectives of two customers who were believed to have stolen goods, the arrest taking place after they had left the shop. The shop detectives returned with them to the shop in order to allow a senior person in . .
CitedTempest v Snowden 1952
Decision too charge – whether was warranted
A custody officer is not required to be sure that the accused person is guilty before charging him, but rather he should believe that a charge is warranted . .
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 . .
CitedCoudrat v Revenue and Customs CA 26-May-2005
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 . .
CitedDarker v Chief Constable of The West Midlands Police HL 1-Aug-2000
The plaintiffs had been indicted on counts alleging conspiracy to import drugs and conspiracy to forge traveller’s cheques. During the criminal trial it emerged that there had been such inadequate disclosure by the police that the proceedings were . .
CitedThree Rivers District Council and Others v Governor and Company of The Bank of England HL 18-May-2000
The applicants alleged misfeasance against the Bank of England in respect of the regulation of a bank.
Held: The Bank could not be sued in negligence, but the tort of misfeasance required clear evidence of misdeeds. The action was now properly . .
CitedAbbott v Refuge Assurance Co CA 1961
The plaintiff appealed against rejection of his private prosecution for malicious prosecution.
Held: On the evidence the defendant had had reasonable and probable grounds to believe that there was sufficient evidence to convict and therefore . .
CitedRe NP Engineering and Security Products Ltd; Official Receiver and Another v Pafundo and Another CA 22-Oct-1996
The official receiver began director disqualification proceedings, but before the proceedings commenced, the company was wound up. Where, on an application for the disqualification of a director, the official receiver and the Secretary of State . .

Lists of cited by and citing cases may be incomplete.

Police, Torts – Other

Updated: 10 November 2021; Ref: scu.448161