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JOHN AMPONAY OF KPEME v. MARTIN TEYI OF KPEME

JELR 84013 (WACA)

West Africa Court of Appeal  •   •  West Africa [For WACA cases]

Coram
Cor. KINGDON, PETRIDES and WEBBER, C.JJ.

Judgement

 KINGDON, C.J., NIGERIA, PETRIDES, C.J., GOLD COAST, AND WEBBER, C.J., SIERRA LEONE.

In this case the claim before the native Tribunal of Alavanyo was for damages for trespass, the real dispute being as to the position of the boundary between the land of the respective parties. It was common ground that each party had had neighbouring farms for many years. The plaintiff brought his action because, as he alleged, the defendant had crossed the boundary and planted cocoa on plaintiff's side, thus extending his, the defendant's, cocoa farm into plaintiff's land. The Tribunal, after hearing the evidence and viewing the land, decided the facts to be as alleged by plaintiff, and considering that the trespass was due to the boundaries being ill- defined, demarcated them clearly. It did not award plaintiff any damages for the trespass, but ordered that he should get one-third share of the cocoa crop gathered from the area of his land upon which the farm encroached.

On appeal to the Akpini State Council, that Council, after viewing the land and hearing the parties, but without taking any fresh evidence, reversed the decision of the trial Court and gave judgment for defendant. On appeal to the Provincial Commissioner that judgment was upheld and the plaintiff now brings this appeal to this Court.

It is well established that the judgment in a land case of a native Tribunal which has seen and heard the witnesses and viewed the land should not be reversed unless it can be clearly shown to be wrong. Applying this principle to the present case we are of opinion that so far from the decision of the trial Tribunal being shown to

be wrong, the facts seem to support it. In any case we are satisfied that its reversal by the Appellate Tribunal was not justified.

The appeal is accordingly allowed; the judgments of the Akpini State Council and of the Provincial Commissioner's Court are set aside and the judgment of the native Tribunal of Alavanyo is restored. The appellant is awarded costs in this Court assessed at £18 16s. 6d. and in the Courts of the Akpini State Council and the Provincial Commissioner to be taxed.

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