JELR 81458 (WACA)    
West Africa Court of Appeal  ·  West Africa [For WACA cases]
Other Citations
1952 14 WACA 424-425
Core Terms Beta
anguah bennieh
clear proof
fair hearing
judgment of the native court
native court
native courts
present case
relevant evidence
short distance
apaa motor road
appellate court
cape coast
colonial legislation
enyan-na-breman confederacy area
exclusive original jurisdiction of native tribunals
general principle
inspection report
judgment of the land court
learned judge of the land court
name of kwebu abuw
native court's finding
obu's evidence
privy council
such matters

Coussey, J.A. This is an appeal from a judgment of the Land Court, Cape Coast, Central Judicial Division, setting aside a judgment of the Native Court “B” of the Enyan-Na-Breman Confederacy Area which awarded the plaintiff- appellant damages for trespass on land called Anuma Nkyia. The issue turned on whether the boundary between the plaintiff's land and that of the defendant was along the Enyan-Maim-Apaa motor road as the plaintiff alleged, in which case there was a trespass, or whether the boundary was at a seventh hillock or ant-hill a short distance away from the road as the defendant asserted, in which case there was no trespass. After hearing evidence, the Native Court viewed the land where the trespass was alleged to have taken place and, on the same day, delivered judgment for the plaintiff for £10 damages and costs to be taxed. The judgment concludes: “We are satisfied with Obu's evidence and therefore give judgment for plaintiff .”Obu was the plaintiff's fifth and last witness. He gave evidence under the name of Kwebu Abuw and he testified that his predecessor formed triple boundary with plaintiff and defendant on the motor road already referred to and that the defendant's trespass was committed at the place where the triple boundary stands.

The learned Judge of the Land Court set the judgment aside because, to his mind, it was inconsistent with the inspection report and he took the view that plaintiff had not proved his title to the area in dispute.

In what respect the report of the inspection was inconsistent with the judgment, or in what particular the plaintiff had failed to prove title, the learned Judge did not state. It was in fact not a dispute as to a large area of land, but as to which of two alternative boundaries set up by the parties a short distance from each other was the true one. We do not consider that the learned Judge was right in setting aside the Native Court's finding of fact on this issue and in this connection it may be as well to set out again the general principle, as it was enunciated by the Privy Council, upon which an appellate Court should act in appeals from Native Courts. In Abakah Nthah v. Anguah Bennieh (1) Lord Atkin said at p. 3:-

“By colonial legislation all suits relating to the ownership of land held under native tenure are placed within the exclusive original jurisdiction of native tribunals, unless satisfactory reason to the contrary is shown. It appears to their Lordships that decisions of the native tribunal on such matters which are peculiarly within their knowledge, arrived at after a fair hearing on relevant evidence, should not be disturbed without very clear proof that they are wrong, and their Lordships fail to find such proof in the present case.”

This passage applies in its entirety in the present case. There was no sufficient n to interfere with the judgment of the Native Court, and we were therefore of the opinion that it should be restored.

Foster-Sutton, P. I concur. Windsor-Aubrey, J. I concur.

Appeal allowed; decision of Native Court restored.