By Safi Jimba
FALSE IMPRISONMENT (AND SLANDER) (I)
In order to substantiate an action for damages for false imprisonment, the plaintiff must show that his freedom was restrained.
Atini Ateze v. Alhaji Momo
(1958) N.R.N.L.R. 127
HIGH CT. (NORTH) – C. A ,. HURLEY S.P.J and Reed J.
The plaintiff/respondent’s claim was that, “on a date in June at Sankara the defendant falsely and maliciously said and published of the plaintiff to the hearing of many people to wit John Gboko and others in Tiv language conveying the meaning that the plaintiff had committed a punishable offence, namely the felony of bribery or official corruption by offering him, the defendant, the sum of $1 so as to deflect him from the honest and impartial performance of his duty”. According to the plaintiff, when the court said the matter should be investigated by the police, “A Yandoka took me to the charge office. I later mad ea statement to the police and I was released”. His two witnesses confirmed this, but one of them said that he did not say that the plaintiff was arrested upon this evidence. There was no show of force and no evidence to suggest that the plaintiff apprehended any force. The plaintiff claimed damages of $75 for slander and $10 for false imprisonment. The magistrate gave judgment in favour of the plaintiff/respondent. On appeal, counsel for the appellant, relying on English authorities, made his first ground of appeal the fact that the plaintiff did not quote the actual words complained of.