Spicer v The Commissioner of Police of The Metropolis: QBD 6 Jul 2020

The claimant alleged defamation. He had been acquitted of a criminal offence and said that material published by the defendant continued to imply or assert his guilt of the offence. The defendant argued truth. The claimant now sought a strike out of the defence as an abuse of process, being a collateral attack on the acquittal.
Held: The major and overriding point is that Mr. Spicer seeks to draw support from his acquittal which fact, as a matter of law and logic, does not provide the support he places upon it. Given that a judge deciding the defendant’s claim of truth, must again decide on the actions of the claimant was the defence precluded by the doctrine of abuse? The question was answered in the negative. The parties now before the court were different, and ‘the jury’s verdict that Mr. Spicer was not guilty of the more serious charges which he faced did not amount to positive ‘factual findings or conclusions’ about the conduct by him which led to the criminal proceedings. It simply meant that his criminal liability was not established (which could have been for a number of reasons, none of which can be known with certainty).’
Saini J
[2020] EWHC 1778 (QB)
England and Wales
CitedJohnson v Gore Wood and Co HL 14-Dec-2000
Shareholder May Sue for Additional Personal Losses
A company brought a claim of negligence against its solicitors, and, after that claim was settled, the company’s owner brought a separate claim in respect of the same subject-matter.
Held: It need not be an abuse of the court for a shareholder . .
CitedHenderson v Henderson 20-Jul-1843
Abuse of Process and Re-litigation
The court set down the principles to be applied in abuse of process cases, where a matter was raised again which should have been dealt with in earlier proceedings.
Sir James Wigram VC said: ‘In trying this question I believe I state the rule . .
CitedDexter Ltd v Vlieland-Boddy CA 2003
The court discussed the significance of Johnson v Gore Wood.
Clarke LJ said: ‘The principles to be derived from the authorities, of which by far the most important is Johnson v Gore Wood and Co [2002] 2 AC 1, can be summarised as follows:
See AlsoSpicer v The Commissioner of Police of The Metropolis QBD 7-Jun-2019
The claimant said that he had been wrongly described on the defendant’s website as one of two people guilty of causing death by dangerous driving. He had been found guilty only of a much less serious offence. The court now considered the meanings of . .
CitedHunter v Chief Constable of the West Midlands Police HL 19-Nov-1981
No collateral attack on Jury findigs.
An attempt was made to open up in a civil action, allegations of assaults by the police prior to the making of confessions which had been disposed of in a voir dire in the course of a criminal trial. The plaintiffs had imprisoned having spent many . .
CitedAmin v Director General of The Security Service and Others CA 26-Jun-2015
The claimant’s claims against the police had been struck out as a collateral attack on a criminal court decision.
Held: ‘If the former decision was made in criminal proceedings leading to a conviction, it is proper to focus attention on the . .
CitedThe Secretary of State for Trade and Industry v Bairstow CA 11-Mar-2003
The Secretary of State attempted, in the course of director’s disqualification proceedings, to rely upon findings made against Mr Bairstow in an earlier wrongful dismissal action to which he had been a party but the Secretary of State not. The . .
CitedBarnett-Waddington Trustees (1980) Ltd and Others v The Royal Bank of Scotland Plc ChD 12-Apr-2017
Second set of proceedings about a secured loan given to the claimants by the defendant bank. The bank, had discovered an external back to back swap (i.e. with an external counterparty), and asserted that it would be entitled to add the costs of . .
CitedVirgin Atlantic Airways Ltd v Zodiac Seats UK Ltd SC 3-Jul-2013
Virgin Atlantic Airways Ltd sought to recover damages exceeding 49,000,000 pounds for the infringement of a European Patent which did not exist in the form said to have been infringed. The Technical Board of Appeal of the European Patent Office had . .
DistinguishedThe Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills v Weston and Another ChD 5-Sep-2014
The Secretary of State sought company director disqualification orders against the defendants saying they had been convicted of making false instruments. The Insolvency service had decided against such proceedings, and the Crown Court judge, when . .

These lists may be incomplete.
Updated: 17 June 2021; Ref: scu.652417