Raja v Van Hoogstraten: ChD 19 Dec 2005

Damages were claimed after claimant alleged involvement by the defendant in the murder of the deceased. The defendant had been tried and acquitted of murder and manslaughter, but the allegation was now pursued. The defendant had since failed to co-operate with the court.
Held: The defendant’s acquittal was not conclusive. The standard in a civil court is the balance of probability adjusted to reflect the seriousness of the allegation. The defendant had absented himself without giving any reason from the hearing, and the evidence must be accordingly qualified. The defendant also had a criminal record, including convictions for violence and threats, which had not been put before the criminal court. He had made several admissions of a proclivity for violence or threats of violence. ‘I am satisfied on the balance of probabilities, (and indeed if it were necessary beyond reasonable doubt), taking full account of the seriousness of the allegations against him, that Mr van Hoogstraten recruited two highly dangerous thugs, Mr Knapp and Mr Croke, to murder Mr Raja in order to halt the prosecution of the Chancery Action by Mr Raja against him and then to obtain the release or settlement of Mr Raja’s claims against Mr van Hoogstraten on terms highly favourable to Mr van Hoogstraten. The evidence pointing to this conclusion is overwhelming. It would have been sufficient for this purpose even if Mr van Hoogstraten had good and sufficient reasons for not attending the trial. The conclusion is the stronger in the absence of any such reason. ‘


The Hon Mr Justice Lightman


[2005] EWHC 2890 (Ch)




Civil Evidence Act 1968 11


England and Wales


CitedRegina v Inland Revenue Commissioners, Ex parte T C Coombs and Co HL 1991
The House heard an application judicially to review a notice served by an inspector of taxes under section 20 of the 1970 Act, requiring T C Coombs and Co to deliver or make available for inspection documents in their possession relevant to the tax . .
CitedA Local Authority v S and W and T By her Guardian FD 27-May-2004
A child had died. The father was accused and acquitted of murder by way of shaken baby syndrome. The local authority persisted with an application for care orders for the other children.
Held: ‘I do not claim to have divined truth. I have . .
CitedIn re H and R (Minors) (Child Sexual Abuse: Standard of Proof) HL 14-Dec-1995
Evidence allowed – Care Application after Abuse
Children had made allegations of serious sexual abuse against their step-father. He was acquitted at trial, but the local authority went ahead with care proceedings. The parents appealed against a finding that a likely risk to the children had still . .
CitedSecretary of State for Health v C CA 2003
The absence of a defendant without any reason being given may entitle the tribunal to conclude that the defendant did not consider that his account would survive oral examination. . .
CitedRegina v Pendleton HL 13-Dec-2001
The defendant had appealed his conviction for murder to the Court of Appeal. The 1968 Act required the court to consider whether the conviction was unsafe. New evidence was before the Court of Appeal, but they had rejected the appeal.
Held: . .
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 . .

Cited by:

CitedAshley and Another v Sussex Police CA 27-Jul-2006
The deceased was shot by police officers raiding his flat in 1998. The claimants sought damages for his estate. They had succeeded in claiming damages for false imprisonment, but now appealed dismissal of their claim for damages for assault and . .
CitedAshley and Another v Chief Constable of Sussex Police HL 23-Apr-2008
The claimants sought to bring an action for damages after a family member suspected of dealing drugs, was shot by the police. At the time he was naked. The police officer had been acquitted by a criminal court of murder. The chief constable now . .
Lists of cited by and citing cases may be incomplete.


Updated: 25 September 2022; Ref: scu.236550