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D. STEPHENS INDUSTRIES LIMITED & ANOR. V. BANK OF CREDIT AND COMMERCE & ANOR.

(1999) JELR 42074 (SC)

Supreme Court  •  SC.117/1993  •  15 Jul 1999  •  Nigeria

Coram
ADOLPHUS GODWIN KARIBI-WHYTE JSC; IDRIS LEGBO KUTIGI JSC; SYLVESTER UMARU ONU JSC; UMARU ATU KALGO JSC; SAMSON ODEMWINGIE UWAIFO JSC;

Judgement

S. O. UWAIFO J.S.C. (Delivering the Leading Judgment): This appeal is from a decision of the Court of Appeal, Port Harcourt Division given on 23 January, 1992. The plaintiffs/appellants (hereinafter called the appellants) sued in the High Court, Port Harcourt for general damages of N1,000,000.00 because their cheque for N 162.45 dated 30 July, 1984 was returned unpaid by the defendants/respondents (hereinafter called the respondents) with the endorsement "DRAWER'S ATTENTION REQUIRED." The learned trial judge gave judgment for the appellants for the sum of N25,000.00, holding that such an endorsement was defamatory of them. He said: "I have come to a finding that the words were capable of having a libellous meaning and indeed were libelous of the plaintiffs. I have also held that the defence of justification cannot stand."

The defence of justification referred to was whether the current account of the appellants on which the cheque in question was drawn had been effectively and properl…

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