TAYO OKE (APPELLANT)

v.

TRENCO (NIGERIA) LTD (RESPONDENT)

(1963) All N.L.R. 621

 

Division: High Court of Lagos

Date of Judgment: 24th October, 1963

Case Number: (Appeal No. 76A/63)

Before: De Lestang, C.J.

 

Appeal from magistrate's court.

The appellant sustained an injury to one eye and claimed compensation under the workmen's Compensation Act. At the trial, the doctor who treated the appellant assessed his disability at 25 per cent while another doctor assessed it at 10 per cent. The law fixes the total loss of sight from one eye at 30 per cent. The trial magistrate assessed the disability at 15 per cent. The appellant appealed. On appeal, it was contended on behalf of the appellant that (1) the trial magistrate should have accepted the opinion of one doctor or the other and (2) that he should have accepted the opinion of the doctor that treated the appellant.

HELD:

(1)     Where two experts express divergent opinion, a trial magistrate may accept either part or the whole of such opinions; consequently the trial magistrate was right in assessing the disability at 15 per cent.

(2)     While it is true that the opinion of a doctor who treated a patient should carry great weight, a trial magistrate is not bound to accept it in toto when there is an expert opinion to the contrary.

Appeal dismissed.

Act referred to:-

Workmen's Compensation Act.

APPEAL from magistrate's court.

Sofola for the Appellant.

Bashua for the Respondent.

De Lestang, C.J.: The appellant sustained an injury to one eye and claimed compensation under the Workmen's Compensation Act. At the trial one doctor assessed his disability at 25 per cent while another doctor assessed it at 10 per cent. The law fixes the total loss of sight from one eye at 30 per cent. Faced with this divergence of opinion the learned Chief Magistrate assessed the disability at 15 per cent. It is contended in this appeal that he was wrong to do this and that he should have accepted the opinion of one doctor or the other.

I can see nothing wrong in what the learned Chief Magistrate did in the Circumstances. The two doctors expressed their opinions and it was up to the learned Magistrate to accept either part or the whole of such opinions. It is indeed rare that the court accepts in toto the opinion of an expert when there are opinions to the contrary. It is also said that he ought to have accepted the opinion which assessed the disability at 25 per cent because it was that of the doctor who treated the appellant for the injury. While it is true that the opinion of such an expert should carry great weight the learned Chief Magistrate was not bound to accept it in full and it is impossible for this Court to say that he erred in not doing so.

The appeal is dismissed with costs assessed at £5-5s-0d.

Appeal dismissed.