Malam Alidu V. Kofi Manu (1944)
LawGlobal Hub Judgment Report – West African Court of Appeal
Wrongful detention of goods–Right to return—Right to damages, whether special and for general.
In September, 1942, Defendant asked Plaintiff, who was going to Accra, to buy him two tyres and a tube ; Plaintiff was unable to get them, but got a tyre for Kofi Atia, which he gave Defendant subject to Kofi Atia’s consent. Kofi Atia would not consent, but Defendant refused to return the tyre ; so Plaintiff gave one of his own to Kofi Atia, whereby his lorry was put off the road. In November Plaintiff sued in the Native Court claiming (a) return of cover and tube, (b) 25s. per day while his lorry was off the road and (c) general damages.
That Court ordered Defendant to replace the tyre or pay its value but gave no damages. Plaintiff appealed to the Magistrate, who ordered Defendant to return the tyre’ in a week but disallowed payment of its value as an illegal alternative. Defendant then offered to return the tyre after this Order given on 10th July, 1943, but Plaintiff refused to take it and appealed to the Chief Commissioner’s Court, which ordered instead that Defendant should pay the cost of the tyre (doubtless because Plaintiff said the tyre was spoiled). Failing to get either special or general damages, Plaintiff appealed to West African Court of Appeal.
that as Appellant had no obligation to give one of his own tyres to Kofi Atia, special damages could not be awarded.
Held also, that after the request to return the tyre, Respondent’s detention thereof was wrongful—which entitled Appellant to the return thereof, damages for wear and tear thereto, and general damages for wrongful detention from the date of the request to return the tyre down to the date when Respondent offered to return it, to be assessed by the Native Court.
As the appellant has been successful in his appeal, the respondent shall pay the costs in this Court assessed at £40 2s. 5d. and in the Courts below to he taxed.