Supreme Court dismisses Trelawny land dispute case brought by Melrose Finance | News

Melrose Finance Company Incorporated has failed in its bid to prove in the Supreme Court that the purchasers of two seafront lots in Duncans, Trelawny were involved in a fraudulent transaction with the vendor.

The company stated in its claim, which was filed in November 2020, that it purchased the lots from Duncan Bay Development Limited and by adverse possession, defendants Noel Sutherland and Kenneth Morris obtained titles for the lots.

It claimed that some time later defendant Maurice Anthony Grannum, as director for Coast and Aesthetic Development Limited (CADL), entered into a sale agreement with Sutherland and Morris to purchase the lands for a reduced price of US$960,000.

However, Coast and Land Properties is registered on the title as the proprietor having been nominated by CADL.

The claimant, in alleging fraud against the defendants, contended that they had no legal or equitable interest in the land and sought damages for trespass.

It also alleged that the conduct of the defendants was fraudulent.

The claimant further alleged that Grannum and Harold Oswald Williams conspired with Sutherland and Morris, who are either unknown or fictitious persons, to have the titles held by the claimant canceled and new titles registered in the names of Sutherland and Morris so as to further a sham sale transaction with CADL.

Sutherland and Morris did not appear at the hearing and were not represented.

Attorneys-at-law Nigel Jones and Chantelle Biersay, who represented CADL, Grannum and Williams, asked that summary judgment be entered for their clients as well as Coast & Land Properties Ltd.

Jones submitted that the issue to be determined by the court was whether the claimant had a real prospect of success in the claim, taking into consideration the defendants’ argument that they are bona fide purchasers for value without notice of fraud.

Justice Grace Henry-McKenzie, in granting summary judgment, said in all the circumstances, the factual allegations on which the claimant relied to prove its case could not support a finding of fraud on the part of the defendants Coast & Land Properties Ltd, CADL, Grannum and Williams.

There is no real prospect of oral evidence affecting the court’s assessment of the facts, therefore the matter should be disposed of summarily as the claimant has no prospect of succeeding on the claim, the judge ruled.

Costs were awarded to the four defendants.

Attorneys-at-law Vincent Chen and McKane Brown, who are representing the claimant, said last week that they have filed an appeal against the judge’s ruling seeking to have it overturned by the Court of Appeal.

Jones said today that his clients have filed an application to strike out the appeal on the basis of procedural irregularities and also that the appeal is without merit.

– Barbara Gayle

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