By Safi Jimba
False imprisonment (and slander) XXI
Continued from last Thursday
I wish I could believe the plaintiff when he was that at the time he was ordered to remove his that he was on his way to compliment the district officer, as he knew the defendant to be. But the letter written before action with the approval and knowledge of the plaintiff is inconsistent with this statement and from the evidence I am satisfied that the plaintiff was approaching the defendant in a heated manner…
I think that the attitude of the plaintiff can best be described as that of spoiling for a row. I think therefore that the provocative manner of the plaintiff, though not amounting to a legal defence for the defendant, yet must be taken to mitigate the damages; while the court will not countenance arbitrary behaviour to the detriment of others, yet it does take into consideration the fact that what might be slight provocation to a person in his private capacity, and which he could then pass unnoticed, may be great if offered to him in an official capacity and such as he cannot, having regard to the dignity of his office pass without notice.
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 behaviour 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…”