Sinclair v Chief Constable of West Yorkshire and British Telecommunications Plc: CA 12 Dec 2000

The claimant had been prosecuted, but the charge was dismissed as an abuse of process. He now appealed a strike out of his civil claim for damages for malicious prosecution.
Held: The appeal failed. The decision to dismiss the criminal charge against him was surprising in the circumstances.


Otton, Jonathan Parker LJJ


[2000] EWCA Civ 319




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 . .
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 . .
CitedArbroath v North Eastern Railway 1883
In a case alleging malicious prosecution, the burden of proving absence of reasonable and probable cause is on the Plaintiff, who thus takes on the notoriously difficult task of proving a negative . .
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 . .
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.’ . .
CitedBrown v Hawkes CA 1891
The court considered the issue of malice as an element of malicious prosecution. It is a matter to be proved by the plaintiff or the case may be withdrawn, but in a proper case it may be inferred from want of reasonable and probable cause although . .

Cited by:

CitedA v West Yorkshire Police HL 6-May-2004
The claimant was a male to female trans-sexual who had been refused employment as a police officer by the respondent, who had said that the staturory requirement for males to search males and for females to search females would be impossible to . .
Lists of cited by and citing cases may be incomplete.

Torts – Other, Police

Updated: 31 May 2022; Ref: scu.147352