Dear Mr. Davey,
Thank you for your letter of the 4th February.
You state, "nearly all solicitors will act against other solicitors providing other solicitors are not close personal friends". I'm afraid the ones we have dealt with must be all related or close personal friends.
WE never found that competition for business was very intense. Perhaps the reason you are not aware of anyone with a good case having difficulty finding a solicitor to act against one of his professional colleagues is because of the reluctance of your office to listen to the facts. These facts in our case were painstakingly gathered by two experienced fraud officers over a three and a half year period and presented to you in their entirety. You preferred to listen to an ex-Official Solicitor who never gave the family or the Detective a hearing.
Brian Hall even used my elderly mother, then 90, as a scapegoat, yet she never at anytime had access to Freddie's estate or her own. The "Christian" property tycoon, the late Mr. C. Gilpin, main shareholder of Neville Johnston handed over both their affairs to Mr. H. Wright, his own solicitor, in 1972.
According to you, speaking on behalf of the Law Society, this disgraceful plunder of a mentally-handicapped patient's estate only warrants a three-year suspension by your Committee. Is it any wonder that the general attitude of the public, feeling its a waste of time complaining, persists? Does the public and a mentally-handicapped patient not deserve better?
Just three years suspension for:
(1) divesting a mentally-handicapped patient of his home and presenting it to an ex-president of the Law Society.
(2) divesting a mentally-handicapped patient of all his valuable King St property and presenting it to a client of Mr. H. Wright's, namely another solicitor who "bought" it, and
(3) divesting a mentally-handicapped patient of his Winetavern St property and presenting it to a JP who "bought" it.
These are only three examples, but three examples which are so callous, evil and criminal that there are no words to describe your attitude to this damning affair.
[Of course, as we now know, Mr. Davey, it is much worse than that. Mr. Wright was NOT suspended for anything he did against my mentally-handicapped brother, Freddie. Mr. Wright was suspended because of what he did against the big Ryland Vehicle Group in England. No action whatsoever was taken against Mr. Wright or anyone else for that matter for anything that was done against my mentally-handicapped brother, Freddie, but you have tried so hard to give the lying impression that it was. In this deceit, you are joined by the 'top brass' of the RUC, Official Solicitors and the Office of the Lord Chancellor and others.]
When I went to your office to put forward my complaints I was met with an aggressive attitude by a member of your staff. I brought my two sisters with me but I was told brusquely that I had only made an appointment for one, so they were refused the right to accompany me. Is there any reason for secrecy in our case?
I understood your office was set up to safeguard the public from bad service from the legal profession, not to suppress or act in an aggressive attitude to the complainant.
I could make many other complaints. I will now give you a few - of how I was treated by a leading Q.C. when, on his one meeting with me, the consultation consisted on his telling me on entering the room and leaving, that, "the Judge wouldn't like me very much".
I was asked by a solicitor to hand over £1,000 which I foolishly did, to obtain the services of a barrister. The barrister never appeared so I was left standing in the courts with no powers and less £1,000.
My elder brother and sister were threatened both by letter and verbally that if they dared to go against the Judge's ruling, they would have to pay the Court's fees. These are the things you haven't heard because the energy spent on getting any complaint over to your office is exhausting. We would never go through it again just to get a junior suspended for 3 years which must be almost up by now. What happened to the £375,000 given to Mr. H. Wright by the Ryland Vehicle Group for Freddie's property. The rightful owner didn't get the money. Who did?
The pressure put on the family over a nine-year period to suppress the truth is overpowering. This started as soon as we put my brother's affairs in the hands of the Official Solicitor in January 1979 and persisted through the Courts when decisions were taken sub-rosa. We were never consulted.
If Freddie had been allowed the services of an independent solicitor and Q.C. whom the family could communicate with and would have worked in the patient's interests, we would not have needed to approach your office.
We will never in future engage a solicitor unless he is well vetted beforehand.
Eileen Wright (Mrs)