IN THE HIGH COURT OF MALAWI
CIVIL CAUSE NO.
462 OF 2000
THE ATTORNEY GENERAL
CORAM: HIS HONOUR,
Mr. Kadzakumanja of Counsel for
R U L I N G
My humble duty in this matter is to
assess damages. The defendants were served with the notice to assess
damages. They did not
turn for hearing neither their
representatives. No reasons were given for such a failure. I
therefore went ahead to assess the
damages on the unchallenged
testimony of the plaintiff.
To put it
in a nutshell, the plaintiff told the Court that the police from
Mponela arrested him at Mponela on the 27th
of April 1998 on murder allegations. He was later on transferred to
Lilongwe Police Station where he was heavily assaulted in
him to confess to the said allegation. Later on the police
transferred him to Dedza Police Station the alleged place
and he was again heavily assaulted. The state later on took him to
Court for prosecution. As he was at the Court, the
person who it was
said he had murdered (his father-in-law) came to the Court to witness
the proceedings. This puzzled the police
and they released him from
custody on the 25th
of May 1998. Thus he was in custody for about 29 days. The police
put him on police bail and later on informed him to stop reporting.
The plaintiff tendered in Court the bail bond from which is marked as
Pex1. It is his evidence that during the time of arrest,
had alleged that he had killed his father-in-law. But when releasing
him on bail, they proffered an allegation of armed
robbery. When he
wanted to seek clarification from them, they told him to shut up and
leave the station. He accordingly obliged.
I have looked at the
evidence of the plaintiff which evidence is uncontroverted. It is
clear that the plaintiff was arrested for
no apparent reasons. He
was in custody for 29 days. I have looked at several case
authorities in relation to the quantum of damages
which may be
awarded in case of this nature.
In awarding damages to
the plaintiff, I also take into account the value of the kwacha.
Certainly damages awarded in the year
2001 should reflect the
strength or weakness of our currency. I therefore award the
plaintiff K80,000 as damages for false imprisonment
for 29 days. I
have not awarded anything on exemplary damages. I feel that the
K80,000 shall adequately compensate the plaintiff.
I also do award
the plaintiff costs of this application.
IN CHAMBERS this 7th
day of May 2001 at Lilongwe.