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Peter O. Ezeani & Ors V. Nneli Ezene & Ors (1935) LJR-WACA

Peter O. Ezeani & Ors V. Nneli Ezene & Ors (1935)

LawGlobal Hub Judgment Report – West African Court of Appeal

Claim for Damages arising front criminal acts for which Convictions already secured—such convictions admissible in civil proceedings as presumptive proof of commission of crimes=Case remitted for re-trial.

The facts of this case are sufficiently set out in the judgment.

S. A. L. Macaulay for Appellants. C. W. Clinton for Respondents.

The following judgment was delivered KINGDON, C.J., NIGERIA.

In this case the plaintiffs claimed in the High Court of the Onitsha Judicial Division the sum of £1,935 lls. lid. special damage being value of their properties alleged to have been wilfully destroyed and looted by defendants. The claim” was dismissed and the plaintiffs now appeal to this Court, the main ground of appeal being that the learned trial Judge refused to receive in evidence the certified copy of criminal proceedings in which the defendants were convicted in respect of the same acts on which the present proceedings are grounded. These criminal proceedings were twice tendered and each time rejected.

The reasons of the Court below for dismissing the plaintiffs’

claim are given in the following passage from the judgment : —

 ” There is no doubt that all the defendants except Obiasulu (23rd witness for D.) were convicted for riot.’ A number of witnesses for the plaintiffs admit that they were convicted for the same offence. If it can be shown to the satisfaction of the Court that the defendants were the people who took part in the riot in which the plaintiffs’ goods were damaged then the plaintiffs are entitled to some damages. The evidence before the Court on this point isthat of Peter Ezeani (fith witness for P.), Victor Maduka (9th witness for P.), and Okafor Mokah (15th witness for P.). They allege they saw a certain number of the defendants actually breaking down and carrying away the materials from the plaintiffs’ houses. Their evidence is given in such a manner as to be most unreliable and therefore cannot be accepted. On this point hinges the whole result of the suit. It is quite obvious that these witnesses were only naming persons they knew to have been convicted of riot from the Adazi quarter. There were 17mueri people convicted of taking part in the same riot. If the Court accepts the theory that the conviction for riot

See also  Madu Fatumani V. The King (1950) LJR-WACA

The facts of this case are sufficiently set out in the judgment.

S. A. L. Macaulay for Appellants. C. W. Clinton for Respondents.

The following judgment was delivered KINGDON, C.J., NIGERIA.

In this case the plaintiffs claimed in the High Court of the Onitsha Judicial Division the sum of £1,935 lls. lid. special damage being value of their properties alleged to have been wilfully destroyed and looted by defendants. The claim” was dismissed and the plaintiffs now appeal to this Court, the main ground of appeal being that the learned trial Judge refused to receive in evidence the certified copy of criminal proceedings in which the defendants were convicted in respect of the same acts on which the present proceedings are grounded. These criminal proceedings were twice tendered and each time rejected.

The reasons of the Court below for dismissing the plaintiffs’

claim are given in the following passage from the judgment : —

 ” There is no doubt that all the defendants except Obiasulu (23rd witness for D.) were convicted for riot.’ A number of witnesses for the plaintiffs admit that they were convicted for the same offence. If it can be shown to the satisfaction of the Court that the defendants were the people who took part in the riot in which the plaintiffs’ goods were damaged then the plaintiffs are entitled to some damages. The evidence before the Court on this point isthat of Peter Ezeani (fith witness for P.), Victor Maduka (9th witness for P.), and Okafor Mokah (15th witness for P.). They allege they saw a certain number of the defendants actually breaking down and carrying away the materials from the plaintiffs’ houses. Their evidence is given in such a manner as to be most unreliable and therefore cannot be accepted. On this point hinges the whole result of the suit. It is quite obvious that these witnesses were only naming persons they knew to have been convicted of riot from the Adazi quarter. There were 17mueri people convicted of taking part in the same riot. If the Court accepts the theory that the conviction for riot.

See also  L. A. Lawson V. Local Authority, Aba (1944) LJR-WACA

This applies in the case of all the defendants except the 26th who apparently has not been convicted. As against him the appeal should be dismissed.

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