Taylor v Anderton (Police Complaints Authority Intervening)

JurisdictionEngland & Wales
CourtCourt of Appeal (Civil Division)
JudgeTHE MASTER OF THE ROLLS,LORD JUSTICE ROSE,LORD JUSTICE MORRITT
Judgment Date13 Jan 1995
Judgment citation (vLex)[1995] EWCA Civ J0113-6
Docket NumberLTA 95/5008/E

[1995] EWCA Civ J0113-6

IN THE SUPREME COURT OF JUDICATURE

IN THE COURT OF APPEAL (CIVIL DIVISION)

ON APPEAL FROM THE HIGH COURT OF JUSTICE

(Mr Justice Owen)

Before: The Master of the Rolls (Sir Thomas Bingham) Lord Justice Rose Lord Justice Morritt

LTA 95/5008/E

LTA 95/5015/E

Kevin Taylor
Plaintiff
and
Sir James Anderton (The Chief Constable of the Greater Manchester Police)
Defendant and
Police Complaints Authority
Intervener

MR R FARLEY QC and MR H HALLIDAY (Instructed by Messrs Taylors, Blackburn) appeared on behalf of the Plaintiff

MR B LEVESON QC, MR G MORROW and MR G WELLS (Instructed by Messrs Weightman Rutherfords, Liverpool) appeared on behalf of the Defendant

MR N AINLEY (Instructed by the Treasury Solicitor) appeared on behalf of the Intervener

1

Friday, 13 January 1995

THE MASTER OF THE ROLLS
2

THE MASTER OF THE ROLLSThere are before the Court two applications for leave to appeal against orders made by Owen J. One application made by the plaintiff concerns the mode of trial of this action. The judge ordered that the action should be heard by judge alone and not by a judge and jury; the plaintiff seeks to challenge that decision. The second application is by the defendant. The judge rejected a claim by the defendant to withhold three reports from inspection on grounds of public interest immunity. The defendant, supported by the Police Complaints Authority, seeks to challenge that decision.

3

The plaintiff is a Manchester businessman whose name has become well known to the public as a result of publicity in recent years. The defendant is the former Chief Constable of the Greater Manchester Police, and at the time relevant to these proceedings was the Chief Constable.

4

On 30 September 1987 the plaintiff was charged with a number of offences of dishonesty relating to the conduct of his business. There were others charged with him, but none of them now features as a party to these proceedings. Committal proceedings took place against the plaintiff between September and November 1988 and he was committed for trial. His trial began in the Manchester Crown Court on 2 October 1989. It continued until 18 January 1990 when the prosecution came to an end. On that date leading counsel for the Crown informed the trial judge that he did not think it right to invite the jury to convict the plaintiff and he proposed to offer no further evidence. The plaintiff was then formally acquitted.

5

On 27 March 1991 the plaintiff issued a writ against the defendant claiming damages for misfeasance in public office as a constable between about March 1985 and 18 January 1990, malicious prosecution between 30 September 1986 and 18 January 1990; and conspiracy between about March 1985 and 18 January 1990. The Statement of Claim was served in May 1991 and amended in November 1994.

6

It is necessary to look at the plaintiff's claim as now pleaded which provides the important background to both these applications. The Amended Statement of Claim opens in paragraphs 1 and 2 with introductory averments. Paragraph 3 pleads that in about February 1985 the defendant established a unit within the Greater Manchester Police known as the Drugs Intelligence Unit ("DIU") for the purpose of investigating a number of persons suspected of being engaged in drug trafficking, in particular the plaintiff, and any police corruption.

7

Paragraph 4 is important. It reads:

8

"Subsequently, in or about or after September 1985 the DIU was wholly or mainly involved in investigating the Plaintiff inter alia with the aims of showing the Plaintiff in a false light, namely as someone engaged in drug trafficking, and/or commercial fraud, and thereby discrediting the then Deputy Chief Constable of the said Constabulary, John Stalker. After the Plaintiff had been charged with various offences hereinafter referred to in or about November 1987, the personnel of the DIU was reduced from 7 to 3 and the DIU was disbanded in or about early 1988 without having charged anybody with a drugs related or a drug trafficking offence."

9

In paragraphs 5 to 19 of the Amended Statement of Claim a series of factual allegations are made. The facts pleaded include: the assignment of a named officer to the DIU; the making of a series of visits to the plaintiff's companies' bankers; the making of a telephone call to one of his company's bankers; the making of visits to and enquiries of banks, business associates and public authorities involved with the plaintiff; an application successfully made to His Honour Judge Prestt QC for orders under section 9 of the Police and Criminal Evidence Act 1984 and for the issue of search warrants; the deliberate withholding of relevant information from the judge on the making of those applications; the withholding of relevant information from the Director of Public Prosecutions and leading counsel for the Crown; the notifying of the plaintiff's credit card company that he was under investigation for drug offences; the obtaining of search warrants from the Magistrates' Court; the seizure of photographs from the plaintiff's home when the warrants were executed; the obtaining of statements from employees of the plaintiff's bank in Manchester; and the arrest, charge, committal, trial and acquittal of the plaintiff.

10

Paragraph 20 of the Amended Statement of Claim pleads, as the rules require, the particulars of malice which the plaintiff relies on to support his cause of action. It is relevant to make reference to the first four of those particulars which are these:

11

"(a)The Plaintiff became the subject of an enquiry into drug trafficking without reasonable cause. The Plaintiff will contend that in February 1985 there was no evidence that the Plaintiff had been involved in such offences;

12

(b)The DIU operated for the purposes set out in Paragraph 4 hereof;

13

(c)The enquiry into drug trafficking having confirmed that there were no reasonable grounds for believing that the Plaintiff was guilty of such an offence, the Plaintiff became the subject of a fraud enquiry conducted by Stephenson [a police officer]. At the time of Stephenson's assignment to the DIU in November 1985 there was no evidence known to the Defendant his servants or agents of any criminal conduct on the part of the Plaintiff;

14

(d)The said enquiries were conducted with the intention of discrediting the Plaintiff and the Plaintiff's companies and thereby discrediting John Stalker, the then Deputy Chief Constable of Greater Manchester, who, as the Defendant well knew, was a friend and associate of the Plaintiff."

15

Particulars (e) to (t) under that paragraph particularise conduct, allegedly malicious, concerned with the investigation and prosecution of the plaintiff for the offences of dishonesty with which he was charged.

16

In paragraph 23 the plaintiff pleads his damage, opening with a claim for general damages based on injury to the plaintiff's reputation as a successful and well-respected businessman. That is followed by a claim for financial loss suffered by the plaintiff as the principal shareholder in several companies whose business activities are said to have been severely prejudiced by the defendant's enquiries and by the prosecution of the plaintiff.

17

There is then a claim in paragraph 25 for aggravated damages relying on the facts pleaded and particularly on the fact that the defendant had acted in an arbitrary, malicious, unconstitutional and oppressive manner towards the plaintiff.

18

A Defence was served in November 1991 and amended in November 1994. The Defence contains some factual admissions but the thrust of the plaintiff's case is denied. It is not necessary to recite the full effect of the Defence, but some excerpts are relevant. In paragraph 6 the defendant avers:

19

"… the Drugs Intelligence Unit was established to carry out a legitimate investigation into alleged criminal activity as a result of information which was received by Officers of the Greater Manchester Police in the circumstances set out in Schedule I annexed hereto and served herewith."

20

Schedule I contains 23 paragraphs relating to events between 1980 and 1985 and deals with the events which allegedly prompted the establishment of the DIU.

21

In paragraph 7 of the Defence it is pleaded:

22

"The Defendant avers that during 1985 members of the Drugs Intelligence Unit continued a bona fide investigation into the affairs of the Plaintiff and others as set out in Schedule II annexed hereto and served herewith."

23

Schedule II contains 18 paragraphs and extends from February 1985 to May 1986.

24

Paragraph 8 relates to the financial investigation and is supported by Schedule III which has 14 paragraphs annexed to the Defence. Paragraph 9 pleads the defendant's belief that there were reasonable grounds for suspecting that the plaintiff was involved in drug-related or drug trafficking offences. That is supported by Schedule IV which runs to 34 paragraphs.

25

Paragraph 10 relates to the involvement of Mr. Stalker. That is supported by Schedule V which runs to 20 paragraphs. In all there are 11 supporting schedules. It is not necessary to mention them all, but I should perhaps draw attention to paragraph 32 of the Amended Defence which avers that the charges preferred against the plaintiff were preferred with reasonable and probable cause and without malice. That averment is supported by Schedule XI which runs to some 48 paragraphs.

26

Further and better particulars of the Statement of Claim were requested and given running to some 40 pages; further and better particulars of the Defence were also requested and given, running in the first instance to 400 pages and to a supplement of some 100 pages...

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