NASSAU, BAHAMAS — Kenyan national Douglas Ngumi, whose settlement for false imprisonment was upped to $750,000 after he appealed for $11 million, was yesterday denied indemnity costs as the Court of Appeal reserved its decision on the issue.
The Court of Appeal handed down its decision yesterday.
Justices Sir Michael Barnett, Jon Isaacs and Milton Evans presided on the matter.
“The general rule is that costs follow the event,” read the ruling.
“Notwithstanding this general rule, however, costs remain within the discretion of the court and that discretion must be exercised judicially.
“The fact that an appeal has been allowed does not automatically mean that the appellant will receive his costs.
“Where there is no clear winner of an appeal, depending on the circumstances of the case, the proper order may be no order as to costs.”
The appellate court said Ngumi was successful in increasing the award of general damages from just over $641,000 to $750,000 — a difference of more than $100,000 — but the award was not increased to the amount of $11 million, which he sought.
According to the ruling, Ngumi was successful as it relates to interest, with the court ordering interest to run from the date of the writ rather than the date of the judgment, as was ordered by the lower court.
However, interest was not ordered to run from the date the cause of action arose, as was sought by the Kenyan taxi driver.
“The appellant was unsuccessful in his quest for indemnity costs as the court did not interfere with the cost order imposed by the court below,” read the ruling.
“In these circumstances, the fair and proper order is no order as to costs.”
Ngumi was detained from January 2011 to August 2017 at the Carmichael Road Detention Centre.
Following an action brought against the respondents, the judge found the respondents liable for false imprisonment, assault and battery and breaches of Ngumi’s fundamental rights.
He was awarded $386,000 for compensatory damages; $100,000 for exemplary damages; $105,000 for breach of constitutional rights; and $50,000 for aggravated damages.
After an appeal of the sum, the court upped the award in August 2021.
Ngumi has appealed to the Privy Council.
The substantive appeal is outstanding.
Fred Smith, QC, Roderick Dawson Malone and Kandice Maycock represented Ngumi.
Kenria Smith represented the respondents.