Mr. Galloway had spoken on the phone to Mr. Hall on my behalf. Mr. Hall must not have been convinced that he was able to put Mr. Galloway off the scent just by talking to him on the phone and, thankfully, wrote the following letter to Mr. Galloway in order to finish the job.
Please read the letter as Mr. Hall sent it to Mr. Galloway and then read it again typed out with my comments. Of course the pen marks on the scanned letter are mine.
IN THE MATTER OF FREDERICK ANDREWS - 1978 No 516
I refer to our telephone conversation yesterday afternoon and write to confirm the points which we discussed. Although the questions you put to me had a general bearing upon the attitude of the Court to the affairs of any patient you acknowledged that your misgivings arose from specific features of the case of Mr Frederick Andrews, junior about which you have been approached by his sister, Mrs. Eileen Wright.
In regard to the legal effect of the signature on a document of a person subsequently found to be (and to have been at the time of signing) incapable of managing his own affairs I have explained that the Court is bound to enquire whether the transaction in question was one which was undertaken in the patient's best interests, whether it was for full value (at the date of the transaction) and whether the purchaser was acting in good faith and without notice of the Patient's disability. In the case of Mr Andrews, as appears from my comprehensive report dated 30 January 1984, there were 3 transactions which had been carried through to a conclusion by the solicitors then purporting to act on his behalf, Messrs Tughan & Co. When I submitted my report to the Court I recommended that no action be taken to set aside any of those sales and in doing so I was, incidently, concurring with the view already taken by my prededcessor, Mr John G Drennan and adopting the advice given to me by Senior counsel whom I had consulted with the leave of the Court.
[Surely, Mr. Hall, my late father was the one who obviously knew what was in my mentally-handicapped brother's best interests. My father made it all so simple. He left the lovely home at 14 Castlehill Road in Freddie's name, the home that Freddie knew and was familiar with, and he also left Freddie around thirty city-centre properties to support and maintain that home for as long as Freddie lived. He also left Freddie sufficient income to be properly looked after by his loving family. Now, Mr. Hall, can you tell me how and why you can accept, without question, that Charles Gilpin and solicitors Tughan & Co - total strangers to our family - were better equipped than my father to know what Freddie's best interests were? Can you tell me what motivated Gilpin and Tughan & Co to interfere in my mentally-handicapped brother's affairs so secretively and in such an underhand fashion that they never shared their motivation or actions with Freddie's brothers or sisters until they had got rid of my mother and Freddie out of Tara House and into a virtual slum of a house? Can you tell me, Mr. Hall, how you can accept, without question, the fact that Gilpin and Tughan & Co conspired to remove all our family's papers from solicitors Boston & Sullivan whom my father had entrusted with administering his affairs to the extent that he made Gwendoline Sullivan a trustee of his estate, without reference to Freddie's brothers and sisters? Surely a person in your very responsible position should have at least questioned all these actions and come to the conclusion that Gilpin and Tughan & Co did not act in the my mentally-handicapped brother's best interests. By not coming to that conclusion, Mr. Hall, you have demonstrated that you are not fit to have been entrusted with the responsibility placed upon you as a person capable of caring for and protecting a mentally-handicapped patient's interests. It is patently obvious that Gilpin and Tughan & Co would never have given the Andrews family a second glance if they had been poor. It is also patently obvious that their motivation was greed and you have now conspired with that greed and put a veneer of legality over it.
As to the full value of the three transactions, Mr. Hall, here is the proof that your conduct is as low as that of everybody else involved in carrying out those transactions. In fact your conduct is worse because you were there to make sure that wrong was not done and if wrong was done, you were there to have it put right - with the power and authority of the Supreme Court. 14 Castlehill COULD NOT be sold, not legally. So that sale has still to be set aside, and will be set aside, no matter how long it takes. By not setting it aside when you had the chance you became part of the shocking fraud that now reaches up to the Supreme Court. In fact you have involved the Supreme Court Judges in this fraud.
Whether the purchaser was acting in good faith and without notice of the Patient's disability is really and practically irrelevant, Mr. Hall, and you know that. You just could not be so naive as to really that statement. What is relevant is whether the VENDOR was acting in good faith, something which you would rather not look into even though a Supreme Court Judge ordered that the original Official Solicitor Mr. Drennan investigate all the transactions from 1972 until 1979. Of course the RUC Fraud Squad made it very easy for you and completed a three year investigation which found Mr. Drennan's handling of the Judge's Order was totally inadequate to put it very mildly. Yet you have supported Mr. Drennan's shoddy work and covered it all up by calling the Fraud Squad Report "...notes and jottings". You, Mr. Hall, have a lot to answer for. You no doubt would have charged Freddie's estate for sending this totally misleading letter to Mr. Galloway and also for sending Mr. Galloway the Judge's reserved judgment which was completely flawed because you kept so much detailed evidence from the Court. On this page you will be able to make a proper valuation of Tara House which is almost three times what you, Mr. Hall accepted as full value for Freddie's own home property and of course it was another solicitor well up in the High Court buildings in Belfast and probably in the Law Society who grabbed it. The big point of this 'sale' was, and is, that when Freddie was put out of his home, Tara House, the need to sell any other of his city centre properties became unnecessary. There was now no need to sell these other properties but you still allowed them to be sold and in fact you conspired, as Master, with Official Solicitor Mrs. Bowersto have the most valuable of Freddie's properties sold at a later date.]
When the case was listed for hearing before the Judge on Friday 24 February the only point upon which any issue was raised by a member of the Andrews family was that of the value of the Patient's former dwellinghouse at 14 Castlehill Road, Belfast and the trial of that issue proceeded at a hearing before the Judge on that afternoon. You have had an opportunity to consider the reserved judgment delivered by Mr Justice MacDermott upon the conclusion of that hearing, which I sent to you with my letter of 20 March, and you now appreciate the basis upon which he came to his conclusion and, in particular, the reason for his warning against the consequences of further speculative proceedings. In brief, it is not only pointless to suggest that speculative proceedings should be instituted on behalf of the Patient but it would be irresponsible to adopt such a course in view of the prospective liability for payment of costs which would be a charge on the Patient's estate.
On the other hand I have indicated to you that I am pursuing, with the assistance of both Senior and Junior Counsel, a substantial claim against the solicitors who formerly acted in connection with the Patient's affairs and I am hopeful that these steps will soon be brought to a successful conclusion. I am advised that the Patient is bound to recover substantial compensation for loss which he has undoubtedly suffered. At an appropriate time I will make a full report upon that aspect of the case to the Court and members of the family will be kept informed of the outcome.
I am pleased to know that you have no further enquiry to raise in connection with the Andrews case and that you accepted the explanations given in our telephone conversation yesterday.
F BRIAN HALL