In February 2005 C supplied M, the investigations editor of the News of the World, with 3g of cocaine. C also obtained, and arranged to supply M with more cocaine and a forged passport. M recorded his dealings with M, had forensic analysis carried out, and reported the facts to the police. C was charged. He pleaded guilty and mitigated on the basis that he had been entrapped, but that this was not a defence. C was sentenced to 4 ½ years imprisonment, later reduced on appeal.
C’s case was later taken up by the Criminal Cases Review Commission. C contended that he was an innocent man who had been induced to commit the offences by G, an associate of M, posing on an internet chatroom as a female fellow Albanian. G was alleged to have induced C to commit offences when he would not otherwise have done so, by holding out the prospect of sexual favours and well-paid employment by a Sheikh if C would do so. The CCRC concluded that it was possible a Court might find that C was not given proper disclosure prior to his choice of plea and/or that the prosecution might have been an abuse of the process. C’s case was referred back to the Court, which allowed him to vacate his plea. The prosecution then offered no evidence, and formal not guilty verdicts were entered. C had by this time served his sentence.
C now sued D, the publisher of the News of the World, for damages for malicious prosecution. C alleged that D was responsible because M had in substance been the prosecutor of C, that G had been acting on M’s instructions or authority, and that the prosecution was malicious. D disputed these points, but accepted they were triable. D applied for summary judgment on the basis that since C admitted that he had committed the offences, with the necessary mens rea, he had no real prospect of establishing that the prosecution was without reasonable and probable cause; hence his claim must fail. C argued that he had a real prospect of showing want of reasonable cause on the footing that M had provoked his prosecution whilst deliberately suppressing evidence of G’s role, knowing that if this was disclosed any prosecution would be an abuse of the process and/or that the CPS would decide not to proceed.