The Court of Appeal in its Ruling delivered on 11 August 2022 confirmed the decision of (then) Justice Ruth Bowe-Darville where she dismissed the action of Michelet Meronard.
The Court of Appeal concluded that the Learned Judge did not err in arriving at the conclusion that Mr. Meronard had no sustainable cause of action against BTC and Bahama Reef Development Co. Ltd. The Court held:
On the totality of the evidence led at the trial, the Appellant’s complaint that the judge had ignored the pleadings has absolutely no merit and cannot be sustained. Having regard to the evidence led by BTC’s 2 witnesses; and having regard as well to section 83 of the Evidence Act, the burden of proof remained on the Appellant to establish by evidence that he was in lawful possession of the land through which the 1st Respondent’s infrastructure ran. This he was unable to do.
The documentary evidence in the form of the Conveyance on which the Appellant relied to support his trespass action against BTC, clearly established that he was not in possession of those portions of the lot through which BTC’s telecommunications infrastructure ran.
Even in the absence of BTC adducing documentary evidence of the 1986 purchase and acquisition of the assets and infrastructure of its predecessor, in the face of the exceptions and reservations to the grant set out in the Conveyance itself, the Appellant’s trespass case against BTC could not possibly succeed. Quite simply, the evidence confirmed the presence of pre-existing utility infrastructure and apparatus within the Windsor Park Subdivision as well as easements, rights and privileges affecting the lot. The Conveyance itself clearly showed that while the Appellant became the legal owner of Lot 2, he never took ownership or possession of the “land and hereditaments comprised in BTC’s undertakings and systems”; and more specifically, those portions of the lot through which BTC’s existing cables and telecommunications services, undertakings and systems ran.
BTC was represented at the Appeal hearing by Raynard Rigby KC and Asha Lewis.
The Judgment of the Court of Appeal was delivered by Hon. Madam Crane-Scott JA.