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Please note that text in red denotes my comments

Official Solicitor Hall's First Report dated 30 January 1984 to the High Court - Paragraph 18.

18. It may be unnecessary for me to suggest that at this stage Mr Wright's professional standing in relation to his client's (the Patient's) interest invites the most critical scrutiny. He was already aware of the Patient's manifest incapacity. His efforts to protect the Patient's interests (in relation to the Smithfield properties) over the preceding 3 years may be judged from the preceding paragraphs. Although he had been acting for the Patient during the preceding 4 years and had already completed 2 substantial sales of property on his behalf Mr Wright was also engaged to act in the Smithfield transaction on behalf of Mr Gilpin (or one of his companies) in circumstances where the latter's interests were diametrically opposed to those of the Patient. In the course of a long interview with Mr Wright, at which both Mr Burgess and Mr F D Tughan were present, I established that a payment of 35,000 was made over by Mr Gilpin to the Northern Ireland Industrial Bank Limited in accordance with the "understanding" reached between the parties to the takeover on 30 September 1977. I have confirmed with the Northern Ireland Industrial Bank Limited that an account was opened with them early in October 1977 under the title "Mr Charles Gilpin and Mr Bertie Wright as trustees for Mr Fred Andrews" and that the payment of 35.000 was lodged to credit of that account on 14 October 1977. During my discussion with Mr Wright he could not recall precisely when he had proceeded to prepare 2 Contracts for the sale of the Patient's Smithfield properties. Mr Burgess had discovered 2 such documents (on the morning of the meeting which I had arranged with him and Mr Wright - 17 November 1983) but although the documents each bore the signature of the Patient neither was dated, neither was signed by or on behalf of a proposed purchase, no deposit payment was identified, no completion date was given and neither of the signatures of the Patient was witnessed. In addition Mr Burgess had discovered 2 incomplete engrossments of an Assignment (intended to relate to the sale of the leasehold property) and also an engrossment of a Conveyance of the freehold property which, although it bore the signature of the Patient, was not witnessed, not dated, not stamped and not registered. During my discussion with Mr Wright it was clear that apart from his failure to complete the conveyancing formalities relating to the 2 sales which he professed to have negotiated on behalf of the Patient he had also known of Mr Drennan's concern to obtain accurate information in respect of the Patient's affairs upon which he (Mr Drennan) was required to report to the Court. I had inspected the note of a preliminary meeting with Mr Wright at which both Mr Drennan and Mr Doherty were present in February 1979 when Mr Wright had said that the Smithfield properties had been sold "to Mr Billy Andrews - about 3 years before". Mr Wright acknowledged that the information which he had originally given to Mr Drennan, in relation to the Smithfield properties, was false and misleading and that he (Mr Wright) had failed to take any step since February 1979 to declare the true position either to Mr Drennan, to Mr Rankin or to the partners in Tughan & Co - with whom he continued to serve as an assistant solicitor until August 1981. I have been fully advised by Mr Kerr as to the implications of the failure of Messrs Tughan & Co to protect the Patient's interests. At this point it is sufficient for me to record that in Mr Kerr's view "it is beyond dispute that Mr Wright failed to discharge his duties as a solicitor to the Patient". I therefore recommend that appropriate proceedings be instituted against Messrs Tughan & Co and Mr Herbert Wright to recover compensation for identifiable loss suffered by the Patient - including interest and costs about which I make further comments at paragraph below.


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