Farmer wins land battle
The legal battle over the 3,657-acre plantation in Golden Vale, Portland, which Owen Kinlock left for his slaves in 1838, is set to continue on February 9, when seven other defendants appear in the Port Antonio Resident Magistrate's Court for the setting of trial dates.
Already one of the defendants, David Brown, has won the right to stay on the land after Resident Magistrate Tara Reid-Carr nonsuited Sonic Ltd, a company registered in the Cayman Islands, which is claiming ownership of the property.
According to attorney-at law Everton Bird, who represented Brown, "The court ruled that it could not have placed much weight on the uncertified photocopy certificate of title tendered by the plaintiff and admitted into evidence."
Sonic Ltd had argued that it has a title for the property, which it acquired from Sun Development Ltd, and needs it for farming activities.
The first test of this claim came recently, when Brown, who heads the association of some 60 families who live on the property, was served notice to quit the property and then summoned to court.
Brown told the court that he had been farming on 30 acres of the land since 1963. He said he had been occupying the property without obstruction or molestation and no challenge was ever made against his possessory title.
Bird further argued that the company erred in giving the notices to the occupants in circumstances where there was no relationship of landlord and tenant between them.