Court dismisses consumer’s 2bn/- compensation demands

DAR ES SALAAM : THE High Court, Dar es Salaam District Registry, has dismissed a suit lodged by a customer, Lightness Mruma, who was demanding 2bn/- compensation from SBC Tanzania Limited for consuming Mirinda fruity soda allegedly containing hydroxide and noxious chemicals.

Judge Hamidu Mwanga ruled in favour of SBC Tanzania Limited, the defendant, after holding that the customer failed to prove her claims to the required standard, which is on the balance of probability.

“The plaintiff never pleaded nor proved the financial loss claims of the tort of negligence, alleging that the defendant has wrongfully acted or omitted upon. In this event, the plaintiff is entitled to no relief. Under the circumstances, as a result of this, I entirely dismiss the suit,” he declared.

Before reaching a conclusion, the judge had to determine some issues, including whether the defendant owed the duty of care and breached the same by negligently manufacturing, packaging and marketing Mirinda Fruity drink and whether the plaintiff suffered any injury by consuming the drink.

After going through the evidence tendered by both parties, he concluded that the plaintiff failed to establish three conditions of negligence, which are duty of care on the part of the defendant, breach of duty of care and damages resulting from the defendant’s breach.

There was evidence that, on a fateful day, the plaintiff went to a retail shop owned by PW2, where she drank the Mirinda fruity soda manufactured by the defendant. After the drinks, the two observed the soda with a decomposed substance and that the plaintiff suffered stomachache and vomiting.

Nevertheless, the counsel for the defendant contended that there is no receipt to prove that the plaintiff bought the said product from the defendant and the alleged shop owner never tendered anything to prove that she owns the shop in question.

In his judgment delivered recently, the judge subscribed to the arguments by the defendant’s counsel and pointed out that it is reasonable and equitable that relationships of duty between the manufacturers must exist and the plaintiff was duty-bound to prove that she bought and drank the soda of Mirinda.

“The plaintiff’s failure to tender the said bottle of soda with the battery inside alleged to be consumed necessitates the requirement of the receipt mandatory. Again, nothing was brought to the court’s attention that the (alleged shop owner) sold the product to the plaintiff,” he said.

Above all, the judge noted, the plaintiff never tendered to court a Tanzania Bureau Standards (TBS) analysis report or Chief Government Chemist report to prove that the soda, the defendant’s product, contained hydroxide as alleged by her.

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