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WEMA BANK LIMITED
(1975) 1 SC 15
BEFORE THEIR LORDSHIPS
Aka Bashorun – for the Appellants
Kunle Oyero – for the Respondent
Tort – Defamation – Libel – Publication – Practice and Procedure – Appeal
Argument on a point not basis of argument in lower court – Effect.
COKER, J.S.C. (Delivering the Judgment of the Court):
The appellants – Wema Bank Limited – have appealed against the judgment of the High Court, Lagos, awarding damages of some N700.00 against them for libellous publication concerning the plaintiff. The learned trial Judge found, and this was not contested on appeal before us, that the plaintiff who was at one time a debtor to the Bank, had before the date of the libellous publication paid off all his indebtedness to the appellants. Surely on this basis there can be no justification for the publication referred to at the time it was indeed published.
Learned Counsel for the appellants sought before us to shift the liability for the publication from the appellants to the auctioneer to whom the appellants had entrusted the sale of the plaintiff’s property and the publication of the libellous advertisement. Learned Counsel for the appellants however, conceded, when pressed by this Court on the issue, that the action was not contested on this basis. We see no reason for allowing any argument on this line.
That was the only point argued in this appeal and the appeal must and does fail and it is dismissed.
Learned Counsel for the plaintiff/respondents abandoned his cross appeal and this will be dismissed as well.
The appellants will pay to the plaintiff/respondent the costs of this appeal fixed at N90.00. Money deposited in the High Court, Lagos should be paid out to the plaintiff accordingly