Andrew Ward successfully defends the Crown Prosecution Service at a civil jury trial

February 9, 2015

Andrew Ward of Exchange Chambers has successfully defended the Crown Prosecution Service (“CPS”) against allegations of malicious prosecution and misfeasance in public office at a civil jury trial held in Leeds County Court between 2nd and 6th February 2015.

The claimant (“DB”) went into a Coral bookmaker’s shop in Leeds on 29th May 2010 with his brother. An African customer alleged that they had thrown pens at him and racially abused him. DB and his brother were arrested. The CPS subsequently charged DB and his brother with a racially aggravated public order offence. DB’s brother pleaded guilty and was sentenced. The reviewing officer at the CPS dropped the charge against DB on the grounds that the independent witnesses in the bookmaker’s shop blamed DB’s brother but not DB such that there was not, in her view, a realistic prospect of conviction.

DB brought a civil claim against the CPS alleging malicious prosecution and misfeasance in public office. His claim was dismissed at the end of a five-day civil jury trial.

Andrew commented that: “There is no tort of negligent prosecution. Even if the claimant could have established that there was no reasonable and probable cause to charge him, the jury concluded that the charging officer was not malicious when he laid the charge. This finding was fatal to the claim. In reality, the claimant was seeking to circumvent the bar on claims for negligent prosecution by dressing up his cause of action as malicious prosecution and misfeasance. It is pleasing that this attempt failed.”