1.This is an Appeal arising from the Judgment and orders of the Honourable Ann Mwangi, Principal Magistrate issued on 10th December, 2020 in Karatina PMELC case No. 73 of 2013.
2.By a Plaint dated 11th July 2013, James Kariuki Mwai (the Appellant) had sought Judgment against his brother Benson Kaboi Mwai (the Respondent) for orders framed as follows:(i)Possession of his rightful piece of land;(ii)To be registered as the absolute proprietor to the suit land;(iii)Damages occasioned by his unlawful eviction from the suit land; and(iv)Any other costs the Court may deem fit to award.
3.Those prayers arose from the Appellant’s contention that the Respondent herein had sold the family’s parcel of land known as Kirimukuyu/Mbogo-ini/633 for Kshs.22,000/-, used the sum of Kshs.8,000/- to defray a loan advanced by the Agricultural Finance Corporation to the family against the land and then fraudulently proceeded without the knowledge of the Plaintiff and/or his mother to transfer the suit land to his name.
4.In his Statement of Defence dated 15th August 2013, the Respondent denied the Appellant’s accusations and invited the Appellant to strict proof. The Respondent further asserted that the suit against himself disclosed no cause of action and that if the cause of action were fraud, the suit was barred by the law of limitation.
5.In addition, the Respondent pleaded that the matters raised in the suit had been substantially and directly been in issue before a competent Court and that hence the claim was res judicata.
6.Having heard the dispute and in the Judgment dated and delivered on 10th December 2020, the Learned Trial Magistrate determined that the suit was time-barred having been filed out of time and that the Court therefore had no jurisdiction to entertain the same.
7.Aggrieved by the said determination, the Appellant lodged herein the Memorandum of Appeal dated 8th January, 2021 seeking to have the same set aside and substituted by a Judgment in favour of the Appellant on the grounds:1.That the Learned Magistrate erred in law and in fact in failing to make a finding that the Plaintiff had proved his case on a balance of probabilities;2.That the Learned Magistrate erred in law and in fact in failing to make a finding that the Defendant did not prove that he had lawfully acquired the title to the suit land.3.That the Learned Magistrate erred in law and in fact in failing to find that the Defendant had obtained title to the suit land through fraud;4.That the Learned Magistrate erred in law and in fact in failing to make a finding that the Defendant did not obtain title to the suit land regularly;5.That the Learned Magistrate erred in law and in fact in failing to make a finding that the Plaintiff was entitled to the prayers sought;6.That the Learned Magistrate erred in law and in fact in awarding the costs of the suit to the Defendant.
8.At Paragraph 2 of Page 2 of the impugned Judgment (page 54 of the Record) the Learned Trial Magistrate states as follows:
9.Thereafter the Learned Trial Magistrate proceeds with a consideration of whether or not the suit is time barred and after noting that the Appellant did not address the Court on the issue in his submissions concludes at Page 3 of the Judgment (Page 55 of the Record) as follows:
10.These then were the issues that informed the striking out of the Appellant’s suit and in my considered view, the issues that ought to have been the basis of the Grounds of Appeal. A perusal of the six (6) Grounds of Appeal as listed above reveals none that challenges the Trial Court’s finding that this suit as filed was time-barred. Instead, the Appellant proceeds as if the Learned Trial Magistrate had considered the matter in substance and arrived at the wrong conclusion.
11.As can be seen from the Statement of Defence filed by the Respondent in the trial Court (Page 11 of the Record), the issue of Limitation had been raised in the pleadings. The Appellant chose not to respond to the same. It is telling that even when his suit was struck out on the basis of the time-bar, the Appellant continues like the proverbial Ostrich to bury its head in the sand, in the hope that the issue would somehow go away.
12.In my considered view, if there was an Appeal that deserved summary rejection under Section 79(B), this was one such candidate. The same is incompetent and misconceived. It is struck out with costs to the Respondent.