MATTIE REYNOLDS, Appellant, v. MADAM KORPU GARFUAH, Appellee.

APPEAL FROM A JUDGMENT OF THE CIRCUIT COURT FOR THE SIXTH JUDICIAL CIRCUIT, MONTSERRADO COUNTY.

Heard: March 20, 2003. Decided: May 9, 2003.

  1. The perfection of an appeal to the Supreme Court from a final judgment of a trial court divests the lower court of its jurisdiction over the case, since the Supreme Court has acquired jurisdiction over the parties and the subject matter.
  2. Where final judgment is rendered in a cause of action the cause cannot be relitigated, especially where an appeal from the judgment is pending resolution by the Supreme Court.
  3. A court estoppel by judgment is a bar which precludes the parties to an action from relitigating the same cause after final judgment or ground of defense, or any fact determined by the judgment.
  4. An action is not barred by a plea of res judicata unless the prior adjudication was on the merits of the case. The action is barred if it involves the same parties and the same subject matter, and which has been decided on the merits.
  5. A trial judge is precluded from entertaining and disposing of a matter previously determined by the court and which is on appeal for appellate review, and he commits contempt in doing so.
  6. A plaintiff in an ejectment action is required by law in this jurisdiction to make an imperfect judgment perfect by the production of evidence to prove and establish his or her title to the property in dispute.
  7. On an application for judgment by default, the applicant shall file proof of service of the summons and complaint, and give proof of the facts constituting the claim, the default and the amount due.
  8. A plaintiff in an action of ejectment is statutorily required to give facts constituting the claim to the property upon the granting of his application for judgment by default.
  9. In an action of ejectment, a plaintiff’s title is not presumed but must be established.
  10. Allegations in pleadings only set forth in a logical manner the points constituting the offense complained of, and if not supported by evidence can in no case amount to proof.
  11. Evidence alone enables a court to pronounce with certainty concerning the matter in dispute. A fundamental rule is that evidence must support the allegations or averments.
  12. The Government of Liberia is the grantor of squatters’ rights/permits of public land to its citizens to temporarily squat. The right is revocable and subject to investigation by the appropriate agency of government.
  1. The Monrovia City Corporation is clothed with the authority and power to investigate a market ground dispute between marketers claiming squatters’ right and a private land owner to determine the ownership thereof.
  2. A party cannot challenge the jurisdiction of the channel chosen by him or her, or the findings and recommendations on that ground.

The appellant and the appellee both claimed ownership to a parcel of land in Monrovia, the former on the basis of a war-ranty deed from a grantor who had secured the property from the Republic of Liberia under a public land sale deed and the latter on the basis of an alleged squatters’ right grant from the Mayor of the Monrovia City Corporation to the marketers. Following the resolution of the dispute by the Ministry of Internal Affairs and the endorsement of its findings and recommendations by the President of Liberia in favor of the appellee, the appellant commenced an action of ejectment against the appellee for the said parcel of land. Default judg-ment was secured by the appellee when the appellant failed to appear; and, after the presentation of evidence by the appellee, a verdict was returned in her favor and final judgment was rendered thereon. From this judgment of the lower court, the appellant announced an appeal to the Supreme Court.
Notwithstanding the pendency of the appeal before the Supreme Court, the appellee proceeded two years later to commence another action of ejectment in the trial court. As before, she secured a judgment in her favor. From this judgment, the appellant again appealed to the Supreme Court, contending in substance that the latter trial was a legal nullity since the trial court did not have the authority to entertain another action for the same property, involving the same parties, the same subject matter, and the same issues as the case which was pending before the Supreme Court; and that once an appeal had been taken and perfected in the first case, the trial court lost jurisdiction over the subject matter.

The Supreme Court sustained the contentions of the appellant and declared the judgment rendered by the trial court in the second case to be null and void, holding that as of the taking of the appeal from the first judgment, only the Supreme Court and not the trial court retained jurisdiction to dispose of the dispute. It declared the action by the trial judge in entertaining the latter suit while the first case remained pending before the Supreme Court as an act of contempt.
With regard to the judgment rendered in the first case which was awaiting disposition, the Supreme Court held that although other witnesses had testified to the ownership of the property by the appellee, the appellee had failed to establish her legal title to the property by her failure to personally testify to her ownership of said property, and that therefore the verdict of the jury was contrary to the weight of the evidence. The Court noted also that the appellee had failed to state the quantity of land involved and that the jury’s verdict had in like manner not stated the quantity of land which was awarded to the appellee. It rejected the appellee’s contention that the proceedings held by the Ministry of Internal Affairs were extra judicial as the Ministry did not have jurisdiction over disputes involving title to land, noting that it was the appellee that had elected to take the matter to the Ministry and hence was precluded from challenging the course adopted by her. Further, the Court said, as the appellee, for the marketers, relied upon the squatters land grant from the Mayor of the Monrovia City Corporation to assert title to the land, the records and findings of the Ministry of Internal investigation were important and admissible at the trial since it showed that the Mayor never made such grant and hence the appellee was without title to the land in dispute, as compared to the appellant who had two title deeds to the said land. Accordingly, the Court adjudged the appellant to be the owner of the property in dispute.

Flaawgaa R. McFarland and Francis S. Korkpor, Sr. appeared for the appellant. Snonsio E. Nigba appeared for the appellee.

MR. JUSTICE JANGABA delivered the opinion of the Court.

The parties before us claim ownership of a parcel of land lying and located in Point 4, Bushrod Island, Monrovia, Liberia. The records in the case revealed that Appellee Korpu Garfuah, for and on behalf of the Marketeers of Bushrod Island, filed a formal complaint with the then Head of State and President of the defunct Interim Assembly of Liberia against Appellant Mattie Reynolds. In the complaint, the plaintiff alleged that the marketeers had acquired the subject property from the then Mayor of the Monrovia City Corpora-tion for market purposes, but that Mattie Reynolds under claim of ownership of the subject property, was moles-ting and harassing them. The matter was forwarded by the Head of State to the Ministry of Internal Affairs for an investigation.
The investigative report, submitted in January 1985, indicated that Appellant Mattie Reynolds had acquired the subject property in fee simple; that Appellee Korpu Garfuah and other marketeers were never given squatter’s right by the then City Major; and that Appellee Korpu Garfuah and others had been given 30 days to vacate the premises of Mattie Reynolds. The records also showed that on the 26th day of March, 1986, the then President of Liberia, His Excellency Samuel K. Doe, endorsed the Findings and Recommendations of the Ministry of Internal Affairs and instructed the said Ministry to ensure that Appellant Reynolds was placed in possession of her property.
Three years thereafter, Appellee Korpu Garfuah instituted an action of ejectment before the Civil Law Court against Appellant Mattie Reynolds, claiming ownership to the afore-mentioned property. Judgment was entered in favor of the appellee when the appellant failed to appear for the hearing of the case. The court appointed counsel announced an appeal for the appellant to this Honourable Court. Thereafter, the appel-lee filed a motion before this Court to dismiss the appellant’s appeal.

Two years later, while the appeal and motion to dismiss were still pending, the appellant commenced a new action of ejectment against the appellee and others, claiming that they were occupying a parcel of land owned by her. The appellee filed an eight-count answer to the complaint, counts 1, 5, 6 and 7 of which this Court deems relevant and hereunder states for the benefit of this opinion.

  1. That Her Honour C. Aimesa Reeves, Assigned Circuit, rendered final judgment against Defendant Reynolds in the first suit, awarding Plaintiff Garfuah $10,000.00 (TEN THOUSAND DOLLARS). Because of the absence of Defendant Reynolds’ counsel, Attorney F. Pailer Campbell, now Counsellor-At-Law of the Honourable Supreme Court, was appointed to take the ruling for and on behalf of Defendant Reynolds. The appointed counsel excepted to the ruling of the Honourable Judge, Her Honour Judge C. Aimesa Reeves, and announced an appeal therefrom on behalf of Defendant Reynolds, consistent with the laws extant in this jurisdiction.
  2. That the records in case #1, Garfuah v. Reynolds, further revealed that following the final judgment in the said case, counsel for Defendant Reynolds filed his bill of exceptions which was approved by Her Honour C. Aimesa Reeves.
  3. That on May 16, 1990, Plaintiff Korpu Garfuah, by and through her counsel, filed a two count motion to dismiss Defendant Reynolds’ appeal on the grounds that the defendant had failed to file her bill of exceptions, appeal bond and notice of the completion of appeal within the time prescribed by statute. Hence, the motion to dismiss the appeal of Defendant Reynolds in case #1, Garfuah v. Reynolds, now before this Honourable Court.
  4. That while the motion to dismiss appellant’s appeal was pending before this Court undetermined, Mattie Rey-nolds, defendant in case #1, Garfuah v. Reynolds, on April 14, 1992, instituted another eight (8) counts action of ejectment against Madam Korpu Garfuah, Alfred Collins, the Korean, by and through its president and authorized agent, Jung Dal Park, one Mr. Moses, owner of a Tire Shop on the vicinity, and a Miss Zelle, owner of a Provision Shop, all privies of Madam Korpu Garfuah. In the complaint, Reynolds claimed three (3) acres of land, which she asserted the named defendants were occupying.

To the plaintiff’s 8 counts complaint, in case #2, Reynolds v. Garfuah et al. (hereinafter referred to for easy reference) defendants, filed an 8 counts answer, firstly requesting the court to refuse jurisdiction over the subject matter and defen-dants because the said case was pending before this Honour-able Supreme Court undetermined; and secondly, asserting that it was contemptuous for the Civil Law Court to resurrect a case that is pending before this Honourable Supreme Court en banc.
In response to Defendants Garfuah et al. answer, Plaintiff Reynolds filed a six (6) count reply. The law issues were disposed of and the case rule to trial, principally on the grounds that Defendants Garfuah et al. did not attach a copy of madam Garfuah’s deed to the answer for the court to determine whether or not it was the identical three (3) acres sued for in case #1, Garfuah v. Reynolds. Hence, the court said, the doctrine of res judicata was not applicable.
That subsequent to the disposition of the law issues, De-fendants Garfuah et al., on September 28, 1992 filed a bill of information before the Civil Law Court, Sixth Judicial Circuit, Montserrado County, attaching thereto relevant documents with respect to the pendency of the matter before the Honourable Supreme Court and prayed the trial court to refuse jurisdiction over the case. The bill of information was resisted, heard and denied, and the case ruled to trial.
Both parties presented evidence, including witnesses who were cross-examined. Following closing arguments, the jurors were charged and sent to their room of deliberations, from whence they returned a verdict in favour of Plaintiff Reynolds in case #2, Reynolds v. Garfuah et al. The verdict of the jury was confirmed by the trial judge in a judgment rendered subsequently. Defendants Gaufuah et al. excepted to the judg-ment and announced an appeal to this Honourable Court.
There are two salient issues which are determinative of this case. They are:

  1. Whether or not the final judgment of March 16, 1990 is in harmony with the law and the facts and circumstances in this case?
  1. Whether or not the Supreme Court acquired jurisdiction over the parties and the subject matter prior to the filing of the second action in 1992?

We shall decide the issues stated above in the reverse order.
During the arguments on whether the court had jurisdiction over the parties and subject matter dispute prior to the filing of the second action, the appellee strongly contended that the case is before us on appeal by Mattie Reynolds from the final judgment of 1990 involving the very subject matter of the suit subsequently instituted by the appellant; that by virtue of an appeal having been taken from the trial court’s judgment in the first case, the Supreme Court acquired jurisdiction over the parties and the subject matter prior to the institution of the second action in 1992 by the appellant; and that the trial court did not have jurisdiction to entertain the second action since the appeal taken to the Supreme Court remained undetermined at the time.

We agree with the contentions and arguments of the appellee with regard to the issues stated above and therefore we answer the question arising from the issue of this Court’s jurisdiction in the affirmative. We hold therefore that it was erroneous and unlawful for the appellant to commence a second action while the appeal taken to this Court in the first action was still pending disposition by this Court. The perfect-ion of the appellant’s appeal to the Supreme Court in that action divested the trial court of its jurisdiction since this Court of denier resort had acquired jurisdiction over the parties and the subject matter for its appellate review and determination. Where final judgment is rendered, as in the instant case, the cause of action cannot be relitigated anew by either party, especially where an appeal from such judgment is pending before the highest Court of this Republic. Wahad v. Helou Brothers, [1975] LRSC 20; 24 LLR 250 (1975), Syl. 3. It is also a universal principle of law that a “court estoppel by judgment is a bar which precludes the parties to an action to relitigate, after final judgment, the same cause of action or ground of defense, or any fact determined by the judgment.” 16 CYC. 680 (1905). In Kontar v. Mouwaffak, [1966] LRSC 18; 17 LLR 259 (1966), Syl. 6, this court held that an “action is not barred by a plea of res judicata unless the prior adjudication was on the merits.” In the case at bar, the trial court had previously adjudicated the case on its merits, as evidenced by its final judgment of March 16, 1990. Thus, the second action, instituted in 1992, is there-fore barred by the doctrine of res judicata since it involved the same parties and the same subject matter. We strongly frown on the trial judge for entertaining and disposing of this matter previously determined by the very court, especially while the matter was pending before us for our appellate review and determination. The act of the trial judge was not only unlaw-ful, illegal and erroneous, but it was a direct affront to the appellate authority of the Supreme Court, conferred upon it by statute and the Constitution of Liberia, and therefore contemptuous. We herewith sound a strong warning to judges of our subordinate courts that henceforth a repetition of such interference by any inferior court with the statutory and constitutional functions of the Supreme Court will leave this Court with no alternative but to take serious disciplinary action against the judges of such courts. Hence, the action of 1992, as well the appeal taken therefrom, are hereby declared a legal nullity and therefore null and avoid ab initio.
Considering the peculiar facts and circumstances obtaining in this case, we deem it expedient not to dispose of appellee’s motion to dismiss appellant’s appeal but to delve into the merits of said appeal from the final judgment of March 16, 1990. Hence, we proceed to determine the second issue of whether or not the final judgment of March 16, 1990 of the trial court is in harmony with the law and the facts and circumstances in this case.

The appellant contended that the final judgment of March 16, 1990 cannot legally be enforced under the law within the Liberian jurisdiction, in that, Appellee Korpu Garfuah never testified in the trial court as to the number of acres or lots of land she had instituted an action of ejectment for. The appellant also argued that the final judgment confirming the verdict did not state or make any reference to how much land the judgment was authorizing the clerk to issue the writ of possession for. The appellant maintained that the final judgment of March 16, 1990 was uncertain and therefore unenforceable under the law and by any court within the 43,000 square miles jurisdiction of the Republic of Liberia.
We shall now examine the final judgment rendered on March 16, 1990 in favor of Appellee Korpu Garfuah so as to ascertain the tenability of appellant’s contentions regarding the uncertainty and unenforceability of the judgment. We observed on sheet one, paragraph one, of the final judgment that the “plaintiff instituted this action of ejectment against the defendant for a parcel of land situated in this county.” On sheet two, paragraph one thereof, it is also stated in part that “the first witness named above testified that he bought the land from Bulu Yallah in 1982 and that the latter (seller) pur-chased the said property from the Government of Liberia by virtue of a public land sale deed dated 1951″. The trial judge, on sheet three of said judgment, then concluded as follows:

“Wherefore and in view of the above, the clerk of this court is hereby ordered to prepare a bill of costs and place same in the hands of the sheriff according to law for service. The clerk shall further issue a writ of possession in favour of plaintiff to be served on the defendant. AND IT IS HEREBY SO ORDERED.”

We shall comment on the final judgment later in this opinion. For now, we shall peruse the evidence adduced at the trial. The records in the case shows that the trial judge dis-posed of the law issues on Friday, February 2, 1990, 32nd day’s jury session, December Term, A. D, 1989. The records also reveal that Appellee Korpu Garfuah never testified as a principal witness on Friday, March 9, 1990, 4th day’s chamber session, March Term, A. D. 1990. We observed further from the records before us that Eldred Collins of Caldwell testified, on sheets one and two, to the effect that the appellee owned a parcel of land adjacent to his, and that the appellee had entered into a lease agreement with the Korean Garage in September, 1989. The third witness was Attorney F. Musa Kamara, then legal counsel of the Ministry of Justice, who testified on sheet five that she had investigated a complaint between the appellee and the appellant and declared the appellee to be the proper and legal owner of the property in question.
The appellee, plaintiff in the ejectment action, was required by the law in this jurisdiction to make her imperfect judgment perfect by the production of evidence to prove and establish her title to the property in dispute. Section 42.6 of the Civil Procedure Law, Rev. Code 1, I LCLR 216, clearly provides that “[on] an application for judgment by default, the applicant shall file proof of service of the summons and complaint, and give proof of the facts constituting the claim, the default and the amount due.” In the case at bar, the plaintiff, who was the principal witness in the litigation, did not testify to establish her ownership to the property. A plaintiff in an action of ejectment is statutorily required to give proof of the facts constituting his or her claim to the property upon the granting of his application for judgment by default. In the case Cooper-King v. Cooper-Scott, [1963] LRSC 38; 15 LLR 390 (1963), Syl.6, this Court held that “[in] an ejectment action, the plaintiff’s title is not presumed, but must be established.” This Court holds that the plaintiff cannot presume her ownership to the property, but must have established her title to the aforesaid property during trial of the case on Friday, February 9, 1990 upon default of the defendant. In Levin v. Juvico Supermarket, [1975] LRSC 12; 24 LLR 187(1975), Syl. 7, text at 194. this Court held that “allegations in pleadings only set forth in a logical manner the points constituting the offense complained of, and if not supported by evidence can in no case amount to proof.” In the Levin case the Supreme Court also held in part that “[e]vidence alone enables the court to pronounce with certainty concerning the matter in dispute.”

As to the final judgment of the trial court, this Court observes that the court confirmed the verdict of the jury awarding the property to the appellee notwithstanding her failure to prove and establish her legal title to the aforesaid property. We also observe that the final judgment does not state the quantity of land awarded to the appellee. We can perceive of no parity of legal reason upon which the trial judge confirmed the verdict of the jury which was contrary to the weight of the evidence adduced at the trial, and to render final judgment without any indication as to the number of acres or lots awarded the appellee. In the case Jogensen v. Knowland, 1 LLR 267 (1895), this Court held that “the want of proof must defeat the best laid action.” The trial judge therefore committed a reversible error when he confirmed the verdict of the trial jury in the absence of proof.
This Court holds that the ejectment suit instituted by the appellee was defeated by her failure to testify and establish her ownership to the disputed property. In Houston v. Fischer, [1904] LRSC 6; 1 LLR 434, 436 (1904), this Court held that “[a] fundamental rule of pleading and practice is that evidence must support the allegations or averments…”
In count 7 of the appellee’s reply, she stated, inter alia, that “plaintiff says that the case alluded to herein relates to a market ground that was exclusively situated in the proximity of Logan Town, where defendant was again claiming owner-ship to a market ground and not the area where the defendant is presently occupying and for which plaintiff holds a deed. Hence, that case was related to the marketeers of Bushrod Island and defendant; and the case not being an action of ejectment over which the administrative agency of govern-ment has jurisdiction, it cannot be legally enforceable by this Honourable Court in the proper action of ejectment. Plaintiff summits therefore that defendant’s exhibit “C” in its entirety, being extra judicial proceeding, indeed is inadmissible in an action of ejectment, especially so when the Ministry of Inter-nal Affairs had no jurisdiction to try and dispose of an action of ejectment. It is a universally accepted principle of law that if a tribunal acts without jurisdiction its judgment or finding is null and void ab initio, especially so when the controversy evolves around the determination of title to real property”

Appellee, plaintiff in the court below, admitted in count 7 of her reply that there was a land dispute between the marketeers of Bushrod Island and the appellant, which dispute was investigated by the Ministry of Internal Affairs for a market ground in Logan Town, but she contended that the land in dispute was not the parcel of land located in Point Four. The appellee also contended that the Ministry of Internal Affairs does not have jurisdiction to hear and dispose of any matter involving title to real property, and that as such the findings of said Ministry was inadmissible and is unenforce-able. Count 6 of the findings of the Ministry of Internal Affairs indicates that “our investigation further revealed that the said land was also investigated by the National Rent Control Commission (NRCC) and the Commission ruled that the parcel of land in question is a lawful property of Mrs. Mattie Reynolds, and that if the Point Four marketeers were interested in doing business on said parcel of land they should negotiate with Mrs. Reynolds, but that was not done, except that a subsequent complaint was filed against Mrs. Mattie Reynolds to the Head of State.”
Count 6 of the findings negates the allegation of the appellee that the land dispute, subject of the investigation by the Ministry of Internal Affairs, related to a market ground in Logan Town instead of Point Four where the appellee is claiming ownership to a parcel of land. We observed from count 6 of the findings that the Point Four marketeers entered upon and operated on the premises of the appellant for market purposes without negotiating with her for the use thereof, and for which they were advised by the then National Rent Control Commission to negotiate with the appellant

However, the Point Four marketeers ignored the advice and subsequently filed a complaint with the then Head of States and President of the Interim Assembly against the appellant, which complaint was forwarded to the Ministry of Internal Affairs for investigation. We observed from the findings of the investigation that the appellant had established her title to the subject property and that the marketeers had failed to prove their claim of ownership to the subject premis-es. The findings further revealed that former Monrovia City Mayor Gayflor Johnson never gave Complainant Korpu et al. squatters’ rights or any permit to operate their market on the parcel of land in question. We observed from the investiga-tion that the basis of the Point Four marketeers’ complaint to the then Head of State was predicated upon an allege acquisi-tion of the premises from the then City Major of the Monrovia City Corporation. This was the basis upon which the market-eers requested the then Head of State of Liberia to intervene and protect the squatters’ right allegedly given to them to operate on the disputed premises. It was on the strength of the alleged squatters’ right that the marketeers considered the parcel of land to be owned by the Government of Liberia rather than a private property. We therefore dis-agree with the contention of appellee that the finding of the Ministry of Internal Affairs, arising from the complaint of the marketeers against the appellant, is inadmissible and unenforceable.
The Government of Liberia is the grantor of squatter’s right to public land to its citizens to temporarily squat thereon. Such right is revocable and is subject to investigation by the appropriate agency of the government. Thus, the Monrovia City Corporation was clothed with the authority and power to investigate the market ground dispute between the marketeers and the appellant and to determine the ownership thereof.
Further, the investigation conducted by the Ministry of Internal Affairs, by directive of the then Head of State and President of the National Interim Assembly, was predicated upon the subsequent complaint of the marketeers to the former Chief Executive of this Republic. The appellee, as shown by the records before us, filed said complaint for and on behalf of the marketeers. Hence, she cannot challenge her own channel of jurisdiction. Accordingly, the Findings and Recommenda-tions of the investigation approved by the then Chief Executive of the Republic of Liberia is prima facie evidence that the marketeers of Point Four operated on the premises of the appellant without any color of right, and that the said marketeers, including Appellee Korpu Garfuah, were therefore subject to eviction by the court upon their failure to vacate said property.

There is a memorandum dated December 22, 1989 from the Ministry of Justice to the appellant, which also claimed our attention, and which we hereunder quote for the benefit of this opinion

“REPUBLIC OF LIBERIA

MINISTRY OF JUSTICE

MONROVIA

MEMORANDUM

TO: Mrs. Mettie Reynolds,

Fayah Musa and Charles Monger

FROM: Eugene A. Cooper

Deputy Minister of Justice for Codification/ Development Planning

DATE: December 22, 1989

Based upon the appeal from high ranking government officials, we have agreed that the owner of the Korean Garage be permitted to secure their vehicles and other personal belongings within the fence until December 27, 1989. This humanitarian concession was necessitated by the Christmas Season when petty criminals are roaming the streets.

Kind regards.”

As stated earlier in this opinion, the then Chief Executive of the Republic of Liberia, His Excellency Samuel Kanyon Doe, directed on March 26, 1986 that the property in dispute should be turned over to the appellant along with every infrastructure development thereon. This memorandum is also indicative of the Ministry of Justice’s recognition of the appellants’ ownership of the parcel of land upon which the Korean Garage operated and regarding which the high ranking officials of the said Ministry requested the appellant to allow and permit the owner of the Korean Garage to keep his vehicles and other personal effects within the fence until December 27, 1989. A careful perusal of the records before us clearly indicates that the appellee and other marketeers failed to produce any title to the market ground to warrant the use of the said property by the Point Four marketeers. The appellee also failed to establish title to the disputed property on February 9, 1990. Considering the duration of the pendency of this matter before this Court, as well as the facts and circum-stances in the case, we will exercise our appellate authority to render a judgment which the trial court should have rendered on March 16, 1990 in accordance with the precedence in our pervious decisions in Townsend v. Cooper, [1951] LRSC 16; 11 LLR 52 (1951), Syl. 4, and Williams v. Tubman, [1960] LRSC 47; 14 LLR 109 (1960), Syl.2, text at 114.
This Court holds that in the absent of any proof by the Point Four marketeers and the appellee that they held title to the disputed property, the judgment of the trial court was not in conformity and consistent with the law, facts and circum-stances in this case. It is therefore our holding that the appel-lant is the legitimate and rightful owner of the three acres of land located and lying in Point Four, Bushrod Island, as contained in her two title deeds of 1949 and 1958, respective-ly. The testimony of Mr. Collins on February 9, 1990 indicates that the appellee leased the subject property to the owner of the Korean Garage in 1989. It is upon this basis that the Ministry of Justice wrote the appellant on December 22, 1989 to request the appellant to allow the owner of the Garage to secure his vehicles and other personal effects in the fence of the said property until December 27, 1989.
Wherefore, and in view of the foregoing, it is the opinion of this Court that the judgment of the trial court is hereby reversed. The Clerk of this Court is hereby ordered to send a mandate to the court below commanding the judge presiding therein to resume jurisdiction over the case, oust the appellee from the premises, and place the appellant in possession of her three (3) acres of land. The appellee is also ordered to pay to appellant all rents collected and received from the Korean Garage from 1989 up to and including the date of execution of this Court’s judgment, and all other persons who have operated on the premises. The trial court is further mandated to determine such rents collected and received by appellee from all persons operating on the premises of the appellant. Costs are disallowed. And it is hereby so ordered.

Judgment reversed.

Categories: 2003
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