Gbadamasi per A. W. Sey V. Salifu Sani (1943)
LawGlobal Hub Judgment Report – West African Court of Appeal
Appeal—Native Tribunal—Original hearing, not on the merits—Original judgment bad in law—Original judgment reversed on the merits on appeal—Appellate decision quashed as insufficiently grounded, and original judgment restoredRe-trial. Evidence—Practice in Native Tribunal—Giving a witness’s evidence through the mouth of another.
The plaintiff in a Native Tribunal claimed damages from the defendant for trespass to land. The substantial issue was a competition between plaintiff and defendant as purchasers of the same farm. The plaintiff’s case was that he had purchased the farm from Kwa Aidoo on 9th March, 1940, the date of a receipt given by Kwa Aidoo for the purchase money, which plaintiff put in evidence together with a formal conveyance by Kwa Aidoo dated 10th May, 1941. The defendant’s case was that he had purchased land which included the farm at a sale by auction under a writ of Fi Fa against Chief Abusumpim, Kwa Aidoo’s father, and he produced the auctioneer’s receipt dated 27th February, 1941, and the Certificate of Purchase dated 21st March, 1941.
The Tribunal, without addressing itself to the merits of the case, gave judgment for the defendant on the ground that the plaintiff had lost his claim by not issuing an Interpleader Summons when the farm was attached.
The Paramount Chief’s Tribunal, on appeal by the plaintiff, reversed this judgment on the merits, after ordering a view of the farm.
The Provincial Commissioner’s Court without examining the grounds on which the original Tribunal’s judgment was based, allowed the defendant’s appeal against the decision of the Paramount Chief’s Tribunal on the ground that it did not appear that the latter Tribunal had sufficient grounds for reversing the judgment of the original Tribunal, which was restored.
(i) The judgment of the original Tribunal was bad in law.
- The Paramount Chief’s Tribunal ought not to have reversed the original Tribunal’s judgment on merits which the original Tribunal had never considered, but should have sent the case back for rehearing on the merits.
- Since the reversal on insufficient grounds of the oziginal Tribunal’s judgment by the Paramount Chief’s Tribunal did not make the judgment a good one, the decision of Provincial Commissioner’s Couvt in favour o’ the plaintiff was bad.
And all the judgments of the Courts below were sent back to the original Tribunal for rehearing.
At the original trial the evidence of a material witness was given through the mouth of another, who was sworn in his name and gave evidence as though the witness whom he was impersonating were speaking. In sending the case back for retrial, the Court especially directed that this practice should not be followed at the new trial, quoting and affirming the judgment in Adabla v. Agana and ors. (6 W.A.C.A. p. 169).
The appellants are awarded costs of the appeal in this Court assessed at £89 8s 64,