Dear Dr Lyons,
Thank you very much for replying to my letter and please accept my sincere apologies for telephoning your secretary.
When my leder brother and I approached you, Dr Lyons,over seven years ago, to place Freddie in care, we naturally assumed that Lord MacDermott would consult you or seek your advice before taking any action. You know Freddie's disability and it is of paramount importance that Lord MacDermott should have made no decisions unless you sanctioned them. It was left to me to inform you of the facts.
Mr Hall, with apparently no knowledge of the Mental Health Act can induce Lord MacDermott to go against the interest of your patient and deny him the right to live in the home my father gave to him and say in Court "that he would not put a man out of his home". This to us is an act of piracy. There was no outcry in the Courts when they were aware that Freddie was put out of his home.
Again Freddie is left open to further abuses in the Court without even protection from the Judge.
If Lord MacDermott can allow Mr Hall wide powers and ignore the Mental Health Act, what then is the purpose of putting Freddie in Care of the Court if he cannot get protection in that Court?
The £37,000 left (after all was plundered) in the Industrial Bank in Bangor under the names of Mr C Gilpin and Mr H Wright of Messrs Tughan & Co would never have put 4 Norwood Gdns in the condition of his previous home let alone keep Freddie for life. There was no guarantee that Freddie would ever have seen this money, so you, Dr Lyons, would have had to find a permanent residence under the state if we had not persisted in our gosl. He would have been left with nothing.
Mr Hall had the audacity to agree with Mr H Wright that Freddie had not the money to live in his home and the Judge accepted this without question and even complimented Mr Hall on his dexterity in Court. To us, Mr Hall's report is not worth the paper it was written on as all was compiled from imformation got from tainted sources.
We fortunately had the advantage of working with Det Constable M. Patterson of the Fraud Squad, who was a diligent and able officer, for almost four years before Mr Hall was appointed. Mr Hall has a lot to learn before putting anything down on paper.
He preferred to attack the family without even knowing us and threatened to sequest my mother's money in Court. He made wild accusations against my mother and sister which were never substantiated. He has never met my mother, sister or Freddie.
Mr C Gilpin influenced my mother to even take her affairs from our family solicitor with the result she lost all her shares in the company. The main object was to possess all Smithfield property but fortuntely Freddie's showroom was "the straw that broke the camel's back"!
We are naturally worried Dr Lyons that we will go into the Court on the 7th February and Freddie will again be denied the right to re-possess Smithfield, property that was never paid for. It must not be sold as this is the one investment which we fought seven years to get back. It must not be sold in order to get those criminally involved "off the hook". If we allow Mr Hall, his barrister and the Judge to act against my father's wishes, every mental patient who can sign his name will be at risk.
Why does the Judge overlook the fact that Freddie's signature is invalid on any document? Where can we find a ruling on this important issue? Surely there must be clear and fast rules to protect mental patients. Why were they ignored by the learned Judge?
About four years ago I contacted a Mr Robert McCartney QC in the Assembly. At that time I had not the money to engage a solicitor to protect Freddie. He put me in touch with a Mr McCracken of Messrs John Johnston & Sons, Callendar Street. In the first Court Hearing Mr McCracken sat with is hands over his face and refused to speak thus denying his Junior Counsel to speak also. Whose instructions were they taking? Was it from Senior Counsel Mr Robert McCartney QC?
Prior to this hearing Mr McCracken made an appointment for me to see Mr Robert McCartney QC in the Law Courts. I was taken to a top room followed by a trailing retinue of four members of the Legal Profession, two of whom I had never met. The atmosphere was intimidating to say the least - a seat was left vacant beside me. In a few minutes Mr McCartney walked in and sat beside me and pointed at my face and said "The Judge will mot like you very much". He then walked to the door, pointed again in my direction and repeated this again and that was the end of my consultation with Senior Counsel. I'm afraid what they intended did not materalise as this had the opposite effect. I naturally had then to dispense with their services. You can understand our mistrust of the Legal Profession after having to witnessed such a childish charade.
My sister went to the Citizens Advice Bureau in the hope that we would find an honest solicitor. We met a Mr Terrence Donaghy and he was the first solicitor to give us confidence to carry on. He then put us in touch with a Mr Michael Fearon. It is a mammoth task for someone young and with only a year to make himself conversant with the case. Unfortunately he cannot go over another solicitors work but he advised me to contact the Law Society. I did write to them but was not encouraged with their reply. Mr Fearon is shocked at the way the Police have sat back and done nothing when they had all the evidence necessary over three years ago to take action.
They should have acted then but preferred instead to put pressure on Fraud Squad Det Constable M. Patterson to leave our case aside, a case he had spent almost four years on, compiling statements from all concerned in the conspiracy to defraud Freddie of his estate. Who are the RUC protecting?
Do mental patients have any rights? Is the Judge aware that we are fighting for not only Freddie but all mental patients who have no family to protect them from the mercy of the Legal Profession who at all times appear to be more concerned with their own protection?
Where can we find a ruling on the legality of the signature of a mental patient? We can never believe that the Judge "overlooked" this most important factor. We can only assume that he has been totally misinformed.
We are going to the Courts on the 7th February with intrepidation, in the hope that Freddie will be allowed to keep his one remaining asset which was somehow overlooked by Mr Drennan, the previous Official Solicitor for three years and by everyone else for seven years. If the Judge allowed and accepted Freddie's signature on the sale of his home without question what will happen to Francis Street, his show-room and ground.
The Law has been used to put Freddie in the care of the Courts. Is there a law to get him out of it? That will be our next task.
We would like you, Dr Lyons, to understand that we are not fighting for monetary benefits. Most important of all we are fighting for the protection of all patients - by Law. Up to now this has not been apparent. We were naive enough to believe that solicitors acted within the Law but in future we will chose our solicitors with the utmost scrutiny.
Lord Chief Justice Lowry says that "between the death of Mr Brian Rankin, who for many years was a very diligent and able Official Solicitor". This we cannot dispute as we never met him. We understood he died before Freddie was put in the care of the Courts. He also says that, "there was an interval during which things seemed to be, and indeed perhaps were, neglected. Is the Judge aware that this interval lasted three years? It was Mr Drennan who was the Official Solicitor, though it was his clerk Mr Doherty who appeared to be in charge at all times. Lord Lowry also says that, "Mr Hall is also diligent and efficient". He may be, but not at protecting Freddie, at every hearing he fought against Freddie's interest.
Thank you, Dr Lyons, for your keen interest.
We will always be thankful for your support and understanding. I wish I had got in touch with you sooner but then again during this time we have had invaluable experience into how the Legal Profession "works" which we would never have been aware of otherwise.