JUSTICE would not be served if a judgment goes in favour of tenants fighting eviction from a £1m North Oxford house, a barrister said.
A three-day hearing to decide the fate of occupants of 17 Warborough Road closed at Bicester Magistrates’ Court yesterday.
Nigerian Abbey Folami is trying to evict tenants Philip Brown and Keiron Halstead, saying he legally bought the house in 2007 for £108,000 and through leasing land in Nigeria.
Proceedings started in February 2012 and yesterday Richard Devereux-Cooke, representing Mr Folami, gave his closing submissions to Recorder Alastair Wilson.
He hit out at claims that some documents presented to support his client were forgeries and said Mr Folami was working with others to gain possession of the house.
He said: “It has been suggested at various times that Mr Folami was simply a frontman.”
But he said the tenants’ counsel “is grasping at wisps of things to try to create the impression Mr Folami had been party to a fraud when there is no direct evidence of that at all,” he said.
There would be “no justice” in the tenants becoming registered proprietors through the process of adverse possession, he said.
He said: “It is clear from all the evidence that in 2006 [the tenants] found themselves suddenly faced with an opportunity.
“But that amounts to no good reason why people in that position should subsequently gain a benefit that they are not truly entitled to.
“The proper course here is to leave Mr Folami as the registered proprietor.”
Recorder Wilson said he will reserve judgment to a date to be determined.