Pilot Law

BRIEF COURT DECISIONS ON CIVIL WRONGS 

 

With Safi Jimba

False imprisonment (and slander) XVI

Continued from last Thursday

The claim of$150 is in my opinion an extravagant one and in the plaintiff’s solicitor’s letter before action there was an attempt to exaggerate the gravity of the assault by allegations of irrelevant behavior by the defendant, which allegations continued to be made throughout the case but which I find unfounded. I cannot treat this as a mere technical assault, but under all the circumstances I do not think the case is one for heavy damages. I therefore fix these as ten pounds as regards the defendant Milbourne…”

Verdict for plaintiff

FALSE IMPRISONMENT (AND SLANDER)

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 made a 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.

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