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J. B. Bardi & Anor V. L.H Maurice (1954) LJR-WACA

J. B. Bardi & Anor V. L.H Maurice (1954)

LawGlobal Hub Judgment Report – West Africa Court of Appeal

Tort—Libel—Plea of justification—Fair comment—Statements of fad—Allegation of disreputable motive—Publication to persons not interested. Practice and Prodecure—Description not meaning representative suit.

Facts

The respondent sued with the above description after his name, and one argument in the appeal was that he had sued in a representative capacity.

The appellants wrote of him that his “tenure as Sekondi-Takoradi Ibo Head was suspicious and inimical to the welfare and interests of the Ibos at large, we the undersigned . . . decline our confidence, etc.”. They circulated this to various bodies and persons and also had it published in a newspaper.

The trial Judge ruled against the defendants (appellants) and the argument for them in their appeal was justification and fair comment—defences that they had e in the court below without success.

Held

(1) To succeed on the plea of justification the appellants-defendants had the onus to justify the imputation complained of by the respondent, but they had failed to do so.

(2) They had alleged a disreputable motive, and that was an allegation of fact to be supported by evidence. Therefore the defence of fair comment failed.

(3) The appellants published the libel to persons who had no interest in the subject and were unjustified in what they had done


Appeal dismissed.

See also  Inspector-General of Police V. Laud Lartey (1934) LJR-WACA

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