Abbas Mohommed V. Taiwo Mohommed & Anor (1952)
LawGlobal Hub Judgment Report – West African Court of Appeal
Damages—Co-respondent in divorce suit—Damages to be compensatory.
The petitioner in a divorce suit was awarded £5 as damages against the co-respondent; he appealed on the damages. Priorto the marriage, the petitioner’s
wife had been the mistress of the co-respondent in Lagos. After the marriage the petitioner and his wife lived in Kano and she helped him in his business. Then
she left her husband and went back to live with the co-respondent in Lagos.
The trial Judge thought it was the wife’s fault more than the co-respondent’s and took account of the fact that she had been his mistress before marrying the petitioner, with whom married life was not a success, and awarded the petitioner £5 as damages against the co-respondent.
The question on appeal was whether that sum was adequate. There was uncontradicted evidence from the appellant that his wife and the co-respondent were writing to each other and that the incident brought much shame upon him in Kano, where he was known and respected.
It was reasonable to infer that the co-respondent was partly responsible for the break-up of the marriage. The damages should only be compensatory, but £5 were not adequate compensation to the appellant for the loss of his wife, the blow to his honour and the injury to his feelings, and the amount would be increased.