The Queen v D’Eyncourt: 1888

andpound;108 was seized by police as money obtained by false pretences, but the charges were confined to andpound;8 alone. The question arose whether the magistrate had jurisdiction under the 1839 Act to direct the delivery of goods which were seized by the police but were not the subject of any charge to the person (a Mary Ryan) from whom they were seized. The magistrate had directed that the balance of andpound;100 be delivered up to her.
Held: The court quashed the decision. The Act conferred no jurisdiction to make any order save in respect of goods the subject of a charge.
Wills J said: ‘As to andpound;8 odd, the defendant appears to have admitted that the sums of which it consisted were property to be returned to the [identified] persons from whom she concedes that she had received them. As to the rest of the sum [of andpound;100 odd] now in the hands of the police authorities, it seems clear, upon the facts stated to us, that it ought to be given to Mary Ryan: and it is clear that the possession she once had would give her the right to recover the money from anyone who could not show a better title. This would be so, even if the money had been obtained by false pretences from persons who with knowledge of the facts advisedly abstained from making any claim or if nothing could be shown as to whom was really entitled. The possessory right may perhaps go further. It is not necessary to express any opinion upon this point. We have no reason to suppose that the police authorities will not do what is right in the matter.’


Wills J


(1888) 21 QBD 109


Metropolitan Police Act 1839 29


England and Wales

Cited by:

CitedField v Sullivan 1923
(Supreme Court of Victoria) The claimant claimed return of goods seized by the police believing them to be stolen. The theft was not established and the claimant as the party in possession at the time of the seizure was held entitled to their . .
Lists of cited by and citing cases may be incomplete.

Police, Torts – Other, Magistrates

Updated: 03 July 2022; Ref: scu.194105