Menzies Aviation accuses judge of erring on facts and the law

Niël Terblanché

Menzies Aviation Namibia has filed a notice with the High Court of Namibia in which the United Kingdom-based company intend to lodge an appeal against the judgement delivered on Friday by Justice Hannelie Prinsloo with the Supreme Court of Namibia.

The decisive judgment handed down by Judge Prinsloo reaffirmed the legality of the eviction of Menzies Aviation Namibia from the Hosea Kutako International Airport (HKIA) on 19 August 2023.

The ruling reiterated Menzies’ lack of legal standing at the HKIA but also underscored the authority of the Namibia Airports Company (NAC) to enforce the previous court orders.

Judge Prinsloo found that at the time of Menzies’ eviction, the company was under no legal obligation to provide ground handling services at HKIA.

The judge found that Menzies had no legal right to insist on offering these services at the airport. The court also made it clear that Menzies had no legal right to occupy any premises at HKIA.

The High Court ruling emphasized that NAC had the right to enforce the High Court judgment of June 29, 2022, which ordered Menzies to vacate HKIA by June 30, 2022.

The court found that the Deputy Sheriff was authorized to evict Menzies and remove its equipment if the company refused to comply.

The judge asserted NAC’s entitlement to enforce the Supreme Court judgment of June 9, 2023, which fully upheld the High Court’s previous decision.

In their notice, Menzies states that it intends to appeal against the entire order meted out by Judge Prinsloo because she erred on the law and the facts of the matter. The notice of appeal outlines several grounds on which the appellant is challenging a court decision. Here’s a summarized version of the notice of appeal:According to the notice, Judge Prinsloo misunderstood a cross-appeal’s impact on an earlier judgment by Justice Ueitele.

The notice states that Judge Prinsloo improperly engaged in an argument surrounding the suspension of certain orders and failed to focus on the main issue of the spoliation application.

The company states in their notice that the judge failed to recognize that the respondents resorted to self-help and implemented an unlawful scheme to dispossess the appellant. According to the notice, Judge Prinsloo made a mistake by not finding that the respondents had no valid defence against the spoliation claim. Menzies states in the notice that the presiding judge incorrectly believes that only the Supreme Court could determine the validity of an appeal, which belief deprived her of her own jurisdiction. The notice further states that Judge Prinsloo misunderstood the appeals brought by both Menzies and Paragon and the impact it would have had on the case. Menzie Aviation, in their notice, requested that the appeal be upheld, and the order be granted as specified in paragraph 2.1 of a previous High Court’s judgment.

The appellant also requested the High Court that the respondents pay the costs of the latest appeal, including the costs of their legal representation.

The matter is set to be heard next week.

Senior counsel Raymond Heathcote, assisted by John-Paul Jones, is representing Menzies Aviation, instructed by Viljoen & Associates.

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