IN THE MATTER OF FREDERICK ANDREWS -1978 No 516
Notes on points raised by Mrs Eileen Wright
1. Property Transactions. Mrs Wright (and other members of the Patient's family) have had good grounds to be concerned about several aspects of the administration of his affairs during the period from 1972-1978 but, sadly, she appears unable to appreciate (or, at least, to accept) the clear distinction which exists in law between contracts or sales which are voidable and those which are void ab initio. All the sale transactions undertaken on behalf of the Patient prior to Mr Drennan's appointment to act as Committee of his estate on 11 January 1979 fell within the former category and it was necessary, therefore, to consider in each case whether the sale could be challenged successfully in proceedings before the Court. In the cases of 2 commercial properties formerly owned by the Patient at 3-5 Little King Street and at 5-21 Winetavern Street the Official Solicitor saw no reason to challenge the outcome of the transactions and no objection was raised by any member of the family at the review hearing held on 24 February 1984.
(I understand that the review hearing before the Judge on 24 February 1984 no objection was raised by anyone against the validity of the sales of Freddie's properties in Little King Street and in Winetavern Street.) [The previous sentence has been typed exactly as it appears on the Official Solicitor's page.]
2.Smithfield properties. One of the features of the case which has caused most distress to Mrs Wright (and also to Mr Billy Andrews) has been that of the attempt made by Mr Herbert Wright, then acting as the assistant solicitor in the firm of Tughan & Co., to carry through the sales of 2 properties belonging to the Patient at Smithfield Square and Frances Street to the family company, Andrews & Company (Belfast) Ltd, in which the major shareholder was (at that time) Mr Charles Gilpin.Investigations made by the Official Solicitor revealed, that neither sale had ever been properly constituted nor had either been completed - with the result that the properties originally purchased in Freddie's name by his late father, which are now very valuable, remain in his ownership and constitute significant assets which may be administered for his benefit.
[It seems clear that, whatever may have been the intention or objective of negotiations undertaken by Mr Herbert Wright in August/September 1977, no sale or transfer of title to either of the properties owned by Freddie at Smithfield Square and Frances Street was ever concluded and they remain part of his assets.]
3. Sale of 14 Castlehill Road. Mrs Wright and her husband came to live at 4 Norwood Gardens, Belfast some years ago and are now responsible not only for the care and maintenance of Freddie himself but also for the care of Mrs Minetta Andrews, his mother, who is a very frail old lady - now confined to bed. There can be no doubt that very much of the personal frustration and bitterness felt by Mrs Wright, who bears a heavy responsibility as housekeeper for 2 dependent relatives, stems from her reflection that the former family home at 14 Castlehill Road would now provide Freddie, Mrs Andrews and Mr & Mrs Wright with a much more spacious and comfortable home - if only "the clock could be put back". [Yet, Mr. Hall, you told the High Court Judge, quote, " A much smaller and more manageable property was purchased with part of the proceeds of sale. Given the personal circumstances of the Patient and of his mother, there can be no doubt that it would have been entirely unsuitable for them to remain living in Castlehill Road", see paragraph 9 of your first official Report, dated 30 January 1984.] Notwithstanding that the original instructions for the sale of the property at Castlehill Road appear [You mean to say, Mr. Hall, that given the seriousness of this situation, you did not find out for sure. If you had been really interested in Freddie's welfare and the welfare of his estate, you would have questioned the authority of my mother to agree to sell off his spacious home. If you had been looking after Freddie's interests, Mr. Hall, you would have faced up to the fact that my mother had NO authority to sell off Freddie's home, but of course you never were interested in Freddie's welfare. You know that my mother would never willingly have sold the home she knew and loved for so many years. Mr. Jemphrey, Mr. Gilpin and Mr. Herbert Wright all came before Freddie. ]to have come from Mrs Andrews herself, Mrs Wright now chooses to persist in her vigorous condemnation of that transaction and refuses to accept the judgment pronounced by Mr Justice MacDermott upon a trial of that issue in the proceedings conducted for him on 24 February 1984. [The previous sentence is retyped here exactly as it appears in Mr. Hall's notes. This issue was NOT tried by Mr. Justice MacDermott on 24 February 1984. In fact the Judge actually made this reference, quote, "In passing I would add that on the morning of 24th February last Mrs. Wright, for whom Mr. Bentley appeared, was given leave to state her personal views. Put shortly she cannot understand why the family home, which she considers was given to the Patient as an investment, was sold. At this point in time one cannot say what precisely motivated Mrs. Minetta Andrews and her advisers but this does not bear on the point before me - namely was the sale price a fair price as far as the Patient is concerned?" Why, Mr. Hall, do you persist in telling lies?]
[You do take every opportunity, Mr. Hall, to condemn me and my family, don't you? Yet, unbelievably, you or your fellow Official Solicitors have NEVER taken any action against those who have stolen from our family, especially Freddie. You have protected the wrongdoers all along. Why? I am neither frustrated nor bitter. I don't have to be. You see, my determination is such that I have no time for either frustration or bitterness. I am actually doing what I am doing simply because you refuse to do the job you are paid to do. Your behaviour leaves me with no option but to do my best to expose it. You are not interested in Freddie's well-being. If you were you would tell the truth to the High Court Judges.]
It would appear that Mrs Wright is unable or unwilling to accept the independent advice which must by now have been offered to her by her own solicitor on this aspect of the case and for that reason it is pointless to seek to justify the position to her in correspondence.
(The sale of the former family home at 14 Castlehill Road was the subject of a full hearing[You know, Mr. Hall, that is just not true. If that were true and both your office and the High Court had done their jobs, Freddie would have regained the right to take possession of his own home again.] before the Judge who later delivered a reserved judgement. 'You will appreciate that I am unable to make any comment upon the outcome of these proceedings but I am sure that you can obtain advice from your own solicitor.)
[Yes, Mr. Hall, a remarkable judgement. This 'nothing judgement' is proof, Mr. Hall, of just how very little information and evidence of what really happened in regard to the 'sale' of 14 Castlehill Road was made available to the Judge, and how very much was deliberately hidden from the Judge by you.]
4. Committee's Accounts. At an early stage in her efforts to obtain a true account of the various transactions affecting the Patient's estate Mrs Wright became dissatisfied with the lack of progress being made by Mr Drennan and his firm (Messrs Cleaver, Fulton & Rankin). She made little secret of her dissatisfaction and at that point turned for assistance to the RUC Fraud Squad who embarked upon investigations of their own. Part of that enquiry involved the examination and analysis of Accounts prepared successively by Mr Drennan and by his partner Mr Peter J Rankin in respect of financial transactions undertaken by them when acting as Committee. The "report" which Mrs Wright obtained from Detective Constable Mervyn Patterson is simply a list of notes or questions relating to details in those Accounts which were drawn to the attention of the Court in November 1983. [No they were not, Mr. Hall, and you know they were not, Mr. Hall, because you were the man who should have brought them to the attention of the Court, Mr. Hall, and you did not bring them to the attention of the Court, did you Mr. Hall?
In your reference above to DC Patterson's three year investigation, you call it a "report". Why use inverted commas, Mr. Hall? In using inverted commas you are making light of this professional detective's work, work which was to cost this conscientious detective his life. You dare not allow this man's findings to get in the way of what Official Solicitor after Official Solicitor has been getting up to. By purposely covering up the criminal activities of those who have plundered my brother's estate, you have interfered with the course of justice under the law and have become part of that criminal activity.]
As a result a full examination of the Accounts was undertaken by Master Bridges (of the Chancery Division) - lasting a full day on Friday 6 January 1984 and all the points were resolved and all monies accounted for. Master Bridges submitted his own separate report to the Judge prior to the review hearing on 24 February 1984 and the "report" has therefore no further significance or relevance to matters now under consideration either by the Court or by the RUC.
(The report prepared by Detective Constable Patterson relating to Accounts prepared by Mr Drennan and Mr Rankin when acting as Committee of Freddie's estate was submitted to the Court by your former solicitors, Messrs John Johnston & Son (and also, I have learned, by Messrs James Boston & Sullivan on behalf of your brother and sister, Mr. Billy Andrews and Mrs Vera Douglas). All the points raised in that report were considered in detail by the chancery Master at the beginning of January last year and I have been informed [By whom, Mr. Hall?] that all sums due to Freddie have been accounted for.)
5. Criminal investigations. Apart from the analysis undertaken by Detective Constable Patterson and others of the Accounts prepared by Mr Drennan and Mr Rankin the main line of police enquiries has been (and remains) directed towards the questionable negotiations undertaken by Mr Herbert Wright on behalf of the Patient affecting commercial properties - even though that transaction was never brought to a conclusion. It is unfortunate that Mrs Wright appears to attach much more significance to the potentially criminal implications of those transactions than has been shown (so far) by police officers conducting the investigations or by the Department of the Director of Public Prosecutions. It is not correct to imply that the police have been hindered in any way in their investigations during the past 2 years or that they have been denied access to all relevant records. [Who said they had been denied access???]
(I have been informed that all title deeds, documents, accounts, correspondence and other papers relating to the case which are now held by the Official Solicitor have been (and remain) available for inspection by officers of the Royal Ulster Constabulary or by the Director of Public Prosecutions at any time.) [This is an interesting letter, Mr. Hall.]
Anyone requiring an insight into the conduct between the RUC and the Director of Public Prosecutions at that time need only have a read through the book "Stalker" by John Stalker.