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Lagesse M.F. & Ors (Plaintiffs) v The Mauritius Commercial Bank Ltd & Ors (Defendants)


Lagesse M.F. & Ors (Plaintiffs) v The Mauritius Commercial Bank Ltd & Ors (Defendants)

2021 SCJ 103


Record No.100235



One Mr Gérald Lagesse was an employee of The Mauritius Commercial Bank Ltd(“MCB”) and was found dead of asphyxia by gagging following a robbery which took place in the main vault of MCB on 11 February 2005.

The Plaintiffs being his widow, daughter and mother claimed moral damages against MCB and claimed an amount of MUR 35 million along with interests. 

The Plaintiffs averred inter alia that MCB acted negligently, recklessly and unprofessionally and failed as an employer to ensure to its employees and more particularly to those working in the main vault a safe working environment.

The Plaintiffs contended inter alia that MCB failed to take the appropriate measures to prevent intruders from accessing the vault areas amongst others, did not have a system to prevent the robbery, did not have any security camera which would have enabled its security personnel that certain intruders penetrated the security areas of its premises, the late Mr Gerald Lagesse was not provided with sufficient training and instructions with respect to the security of the vault and the security areas.

Learned Counsel for the Plaintiffs further made it clear that the Mauritius Union Cy Ltd, Mauritius Eagle Insurance Company Limited and Swan Insurance Company Ltd, respectively Defendant No.2, Defendant No.3 and Defendant No.4, have been joined as parties to the case as a result of the insistence of MCB to put them into cause.



The plaint was dismissed with no order as to costs mainly on the following rationale:

(i)             all safety procedures and measures were scrupulously followed and applied by MCB on the material date (11.02.2005) and no evidence to the contrary was established;

(ii)           there was evidence from witnesses called by the Plaintiffs themselves that the late Mr Gerald Lagesse was an experienced bank officer and was more specifically the bank manager of several MCB branches where there were vaults and that in such capacity, he was fully conversant with the security aspects of the vault. Therefore the Plaintiffs’ complaint that Mr Lagesse was not given adequate training and required special skills remain unfounded;

(iii)          the intruders got access to the main vault not as a result of the defectiveness in the security system or the lack of aptitude of the late Mr Lagesse as contended by the Plaintiffs but rather on account of someone from the inside the bank having made it possible for the intruders to do so; and

(iv)         the preponderance of the evidence does not establish that the robbery and the death of Mr Lagesse were due to the faute, negligence and recklessness of MCB and the Plaintiffs failed to substantiate their claim for moral damages and their averments that MCB has failed in its duty to ensure a safe environment to it employees.


Attorney for Defendant No.2: Josephine Robert