Court rejects efforts to block appeal in land acquisition dispute
Government has failed it in its effort to block a group of landowners from challenging its acquisition of property in Six Men’s, St Peter 18 years ago.
Mount Six Men’s Company Limited, owned by the Broome family, is appealing a 2006 High Court decision not to give back land compulsorily acquired by Government in 1997.
However, the Crown asked the court to strike out the appeal. That application, led by Marcia Thompson-Cumberbatch, was based on the alleged failure of the attorneys for the company to file the record of appeal which is a document detailing the proceedings of the case.
However, the Court dismissed the Crown’s application after it was pointed out that Mount Six Men’s could not be in default since they could not file the record of appeal until it was settled by the Registrar.
The application was therefore not only dismissed, but costs were awarded to attorneys for Mount Six Men’s Company Limited, Barry Gale QC and Laura F. Harvey-Read.
Once the record of appeal is settled and thereafter filed, the appeal will again come up for hearing.
The matter was heard by Chief Justice Sir Marston Gibson and Justices of Appeal Sandra Mason and Andrew Burgess
The issues surrounding the matter date back to the 1980s, arising out of the acquisition of 27.6 acres of land at Six Men’s, St Peter.
In 1985, the Crown gave notice that it wanted to acquire the land from the Broome family. By 1986, persons began squatting on the land and a year later, Government abandoned its acquisition process.
The Broome family then got their land back and thereafter tried to get the squatters off by filing lawsuits against some 90 of them.
However, Government again decided to acquire the land and, by Cabinet approval in 1997, sought to do so.
That same year, Mount Six Men’s brought an action in judicial review against the Government, on the grounds that the acquisition was illegal and that the land had been acquired for improper purposes.
Mount Six Men’s judicial review application named the Chief Town Planner, the Chief Surveyor and the Attorney General, and sought substantial compensation and a return of their land.
In 2006, High Court Judge Elneth Kentish dismissed the judicial review application on a preliminary point and determined that Mount Six Men’s Company Limited was only due compensation under the Land Acquisition Act and not the return of its land.
Mount Six Men’s therefore appealed the decision.