Malicious Prosecution claim succeeds

Complainant is found liable after County Court trial

A man who brought proceedings against his former landlord after a false allegation of assault was made against him won his claim for malicious prosecution, following a three-day County Court trial.

The Claimant, Paramjit Basuta, and the Defendant, Tara Singh Dhemrait, were related. Mr Basuta was an engineer based in Derby but who worked in London and, in 2013, whilst working at Heathrow on a project, he needed weekday accommodation. In October 2013 he moved in with the Defendant in London.

Following a conversation about the payment of rent, and the Defendant sending the Claimant a letter giving him notice to quit the property, on 27 January 2014 the Defendant went to police and made an allegation of assault by the Claimant. The Claimant was arrested and charged with assault. When the Claimant appeared at court at his criminal trial, the Prosecution had received evidence on his behalf. An adjournment was sought, and, having considered the evidence, the CPS discontinued the criminal proceedings.

The Claimant’s allegation in the civil proceedings was that that the prosecution was procured by the Defendant maliciously on the basis of an untrue allegation that the Defendant knew was untrue, and that he did so not for the purpose of a proper prosecution, but maliciously to further his own aims and harm the Claimant.

At the end of a three day trial the Judge, Mr Recorder Aldous QC, held that the Defendant was liable to the Claimant for malicious prosecution. Giving a detailed ex tempore judgment, he held that the whole Prosecution was brought about by and for the aims of the Defendant, that he knew his complaint to be false, and that he was making it deliberately and for the motive of getting the police to intervene. The claim was one of those cases where the Court should conclude that the prosecution was brought by and for the Defendant as an abuse of the criminal justice system for ulterior motives. The Claimant was awarded special damages in the amount of his costs of defending the criminal proceedings, and general damages for distress and aggravation.

Gervase de Wilde of 5RB, instructed by TT Law, acted for the Claimant, and William Bennett of 5RB, instructed by Tann & Tann Solicitors, acted for the Defendant