Eleven families whose homes were ordered to be demolished have filed a joint appeal to have the court judgment overturned.

Among other arguments, the appeal says the Civil Court gave a wrong interpretation of the advice of the court-appointed architect, on which Judge Silvio Meli based his judgment.

The case, which dates back to 1985, was originally filed by the late Francis Manduca against Lay Lay Company Limited, which was accused of usurping 446 square metres of his land in the area known as Ta’ Rmiedi in Dun Mikiel Xerri Street, Attard.

The court ruled that Mr Manduca’s property, now belonging to heirs Joseph and Alfred Manduca, had been invaded by the company, which should therefore pay for the demolition of the houses.

The court also found that three of the 11 owners were responsible for usurping the land.

It gave Lay Lay six months to demolish the buildings, saying that, if this was not done, the owners could carry out the demolition themselves at the company’s expense.

But the families insist they bought their property in good faith and have all the necessary documents to prove it.

Speaking to The Times earlier this month, one of the home-owners, Jimmy (James) Fsadni, 63, who was one of the three owners found to be responsible for the land’s usurpation, was in shock.

“I don’t know what to do... I’m half expecting a bunch of trucks to show up and start demolishing everything. It’s always the small fry who has to pay,” he said.

The appeal was filed jointly by lawyers Edward DeBono, Aldo Vella, Raphael Fenech Adami, Philip Manduca, Jonathan De Maria and John Vassallo.

The home owners are Mr Fsadni, Mary Vassallo, David Fenech, John Fenech, John Bellizzi, Joseph Falzon, Mario Abela, Francis and Jane Giudice, Filomena Bowdler, Anthony Bezzina and George Vella.

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