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  • Access Bank Plc. vs. M.F.C.C.S.
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  • 2005-03-21
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Access Bank Plc. vs. M.F.C.C.S.

ACCESS BANK PLC.

V

MARYLAND FINANCE COMPANY AND CONSULTANCY SERVICE

COURT OF APPEAL

( LAGOS DIVISION )

DALHATU ADAMU JCA ( Presided )

PIUS OLAYIWOLA ADEREMI JCA (Read the Lead Judgment)

MUSA DATTIJO MUHAMMAD JCA

CA/L/520/99

THURSDAY, 20TH MAY, 2004

BANKING - ‘DAR’ endorsed by bank on a cheque - Meaning of

BANKING - Banker/customer relationship - Nature of

BANKING - Breach of banker/customer relationship -  Measure of damages awardable

BANKING - Endorsement of the words “DAR” on cheque - Whether libelous

CONTRACT - Breach of banker/customer relationship by bank Measure of damages awardable to customer

COURT - Assessment of damages in defamatory action - Duty on trial court

COURT - Award of damages by trial court - When appellate court can interfere therewith

DAMAGES  Defamatory action - Award of damages in a libel suit Object of

LIBEL - Action for - Assessment of damages - On what based

LIBEL - Action for - Duty of trial Judge to determine whether alleged defamatory statement conveys a defamatory meaning

LIBEL - Damages - Aim of awarding in defamatory action

LIBEL - Defamation - Alleged defamatory statement - Duty on trial Judge to determine whether it conveys a defamatory meaning before proceeding with hearing of suit

TORTS - Defamation - Defamatory statement - What amounts to

TORTS - Defamation - Alleged defamatory statement - Duty on trial Judge to determine whether it conveys a defamatory meaning before proceeding with hearing of a suit

WORDS AND PHRASES - ‘DAR’ endorsed on cheque by bank  -

Meaning of

Issues:

1.              Whether the learned trial Judge was right in holding that the plaintiff was defamed by the defendant and that the defamatory substance was actuated by malice.

2.              Whether the amount of damages awarded by the learned trial Judge was excessive in the circumstance.

Facts:

The plaintiff/respondent at the lower court claimed from the defendant/appellant the sum of N5,000,000.00 (five million naira) as damages for libelous endorsement by the defendant/appellant on a cheque issued by the plaintiff/respondent on the 25th of November, 1992 in favour of Emotype Ltd.

Pleadings were exchanged by the parties and the case proceeded to trial, at the end of which written addresses were filed in the court and exchanged between parties upon the order of the trial Judge.

On 16th July, 1991, the trial Judge delivered judgment and found for the plaintiff/respondent and awarded it N1,500,000.00 (one million, five hundred thousand naira) as damages, with N5,000.00 (five thousand naira) costs against the defendant/appellant, who being dissatisfied with the judgment has appealed to the Court of Appeal.