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Thursday, 20 January, 2000, 22:02 GMT
Barman wins damages for beer lizard

"Clear evidence of negligence" on the part of brewery


A Zambian barman has won nearly $18,000 damages after finding a dead lizard in his beer.

Reuben Mwanza thought he would have "one for the road" in a local bottle-shop in October 1998, at the end of a long day at the hotel where he works.

After one swig from the bottle of Castle lager beer, Mr Mwanza told the court, he looked down and saw the floating lizard - causing him "nervous shock, discomfort and stress".

There has been a spate of nasty finds recently
The court heard that Mr Mwanza felt depressed and nauseated for a week after his encounter with the lizard and no longer enjoyed drinking beer.

The court found in favour of Mr Mwanza and Judge Timothy Kabalata awarded the substantial damages against Zambian Breweries, makers of Castle lager beer, for negligence.

The judge said the lizard's presence in the beer bottle was "clear evidence of negligence" on the part of the brewery.

As a BBC correspondent in Lusaka reports, Mr Mwanza is not the first person to make a fortune after allegedly finding a unpleasant foreign body.

A Lusaka magistrate pocketed $35,000 after finding a cockroach in her soup.

Another litigant hoping to strike it rich is a government minister who has sued Zambia Bottlers for $200,000 damages after finding a cockroach in his bottle of Sprite.

Judge Kabalata said the country's law imposed a "duty of care" on any person or manufacturer not to sell any foods or drinks containing foreign objects
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