The National- Monday, January 17, 2011
By ILA PAILAEA
THE National Court last Wednesday quashed a provincial land court decision of 2003, because the decision of the presiding magistrate, in refusing to entertain a late appeal, was “an error of law and a gross miscarriage of justice”.
Judge Catherine Davani, before handing down the decision, said “the parties deserved an apology from the court as this has taken a long time, from 2004 up till now”.
The plaintiffs Ruma Nou Sere and Lohia Pipi Lohia representing the Elevala Botai clan of Hanuabada and Elevala villages in NCD had filed for a judicial review on the decision by provincial Land Court magistrate Danny Wakikura and also the decision to award the disputed land described as “Kavari Tabedae”, also known as CB 77, to the first defendants named as Doura Frank, Oda Mahuru and others of Hoboimo clan of Elevala and Hanuabada.
The Poreporena Freeway passes through this land.
Magistrate Bill Noki named as second defendent, refused the appeal on the grounds it was filed outside of the time allowed to file an appeal.
The plaintiffs relied on section 54(2) of the Land Disputes Settlement Act and said the appeal should have been heard because this law required leave to be granted where an appeal is made within 12 months.
“They submit that section 54(2) of the Act allows the Court to permit them to be heard on the matters as they were four days out of time in filing their appeal.
“Then, they would have presented evidence of Court Orders made on May 27, 1987, granting ownership of the subject land to the plaintiffs,” Davani said.
The court decision of 1987 by magistrate Arnold Joseph was still a good decision and remains.