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Please note that text in red denotes my comments

A letter from Official Solicitor Redpath to Peter Robinson MP dated 28/8/1992.

Dear Mr Robinson

Your ref: DPR/EB/10,700

Thank you for your letter of 31 July 1992 received in my Office on 3 August 1992.

At this point I think it would be helpful to set out for your information some general comments which may serve to put Mrs Wright's persistent enquiries in proper prospective.

The case of Mr Frederick Andrews junior (who is referred to for the purposes of Court proceedings and official communications as "the Patient") first came to the attention of the Court in December 1978. [No, Mr. Redpath, Freddie's case was brought to the attention of the Court by his family because of the plunder of his property almost immediately after his father died by opportunists Charles Gilpin and Tughan Co.] The Official Solicitor (then Mr John G Drennan) was appointed to undertake responsibility for the Patient's affairs as Committee (now Controller) by Order of the Lord Chief Justice dated 11 January 1979. Successive Official Solicitors have been continuously involved in exhaustive enquiries about the Patient's affairs [No, Mr. Redpath, the Official Solicitors including yourself have been very careful NOT to conduct exhaustive enquiries in order to protect their involvement in the most appalling criminal conduct ever carried out by members of the legal profession, and probably the judiciary, in Northern Ireland's history.] since that time and it is correct to acknowledge that in the early years following Mr Drennan's appointment Mrs Wright provided valuable assistance to him and others in helping to focus attention upon particular transactions and details of family history which clarified a number of essential questions. [I have never ceased to provide valuable assistance to all concerned, but like all the other Official Solicitors and others, you, Mr. Redpath, have dismissed that assistance as interference. Of course given the vile business you are all involved in, I suppose it could be called interference, but it is a good, useful and necessary interference.] A fundamental difficulty, however, which served to delay the proper presentation of a comprehensive report to the Court was that an assistant solicitor in the firm which had been engaged by the Patient's mother, the late Mrs Minetta Andrews, in 1973 to undertake responsibility for her affairs and those of the Patient had been guilty of professional negligence and in his subsequent dealings both with the Official Solicitor (Mr Drennan) and with others he had also been dishonest [Just hold it there, Mr. Redpath. In this case, Mr. Redpath, the solicitor you spoke about, Herbert Wright, was prosecuted and convicted of, "between the 1st day of August 1979 and the 31st day of January 1980, in the County Court Division of Belfast, dishonestly obtained from Ryland Vehicle Group Limited 375.000 with the intention of permanently depriving the said Ryland Vehicle Group Limited thereof by deception, namely by falsely representing Neville Johnston (Garages) Limited had a good and marketable title to premises known as 60/65 Smithfield Square, Belfast." This case was heard on September 28th 1988, nine years after the crime was committed, BUT, in order to perpetrate that crime, Herbert Wright had to obtain the deed, the stolen deed, from Official Solicitor Drennan who was at the time quoted in the summons, "between the 1st day of August 1979 and the 31st day of January 1980", the Official Solicitor who held the deed and had been Official Solicitor for nearly a whole year. So, Mr. Redpath, it seems that Mr. Drennan knew more than he was letting on to know and you, Mr. Redpath, also knew a lot more than you let on to know. You know that the Office of the Official Solicitor has been up to its neck in the dirtiest campaign of criminal graft for years and, in addition, Official Solicitors including yourself, have been taking thousands of pounds belonging to my mentally-handicapped brother Freddie in fees for answering hundreds of my letters with lies and obfuscation. I accuse the Office of Official Solicitor with fraud, graft, corruption, and enough criminal activity to keep a High Court busy for a long time, that is, if an honest Judge can be found to operate it.] to the extent of giving misleading and untruthful answers to questions put to him which served to divert (for a number of years) enquiries which might have revealed the true position in regard to the Patient's assets.
[So my mother engaged the firm that Herbert Wright worked in. I must remember you stated that, Mr. Redpath. Had exhaustive enquiries been carried out by the successive Official Solicitors you mentioned above, they would have found out, as the RUC Fraud Squad found out, that it was Charles Gilpin who engaged Tughan & Co to "undertake responsibility for her affairs and those of the Patient". Mr. Gilpin not only caused my mother to transfer her affairs and my brother's affairs from father's solicitors, Boston & Sullivan, but the same Mr. Gilpin illegally removed the family safe containing private family documents into his own custody. In other words, Mr. Gilpin stole our family safe. Mr. Gilpin had possession of father's Will even before my brother Billy saw it. All this and much more criminal activity has been totally ignored and covered-up by the Office of the Official Solicitors.]

Unfortunately, as a result of the known duplicity of that individual solicitor and her disenchantment with the consequential delay in completing the investigation, Mrs Wright has become unable or unwilling to accept the outcome of the exhaustive review of the case by successive Official Solicitors and has engaged in persistent correspondence on her own account, both direct with the Court and through many other intermediaries, notwithstanding the fact that she has had a long succession of competent professional legal advisers. Her various solicitors (and counsel) have each, in turn, considered the points which she has raised and have communicated responsibly with my several predecessors. It should be borne in mind that in the initial stages of the investigation of the Patient's affairs, late in 1978 and in the early months of 1979 Mrs Wright and other members of the Andrews family (quite understandably) sought the comments and advice of Miss Gwendoline Sullivan, the responsible partner in the firm of Messrs James Boston & Sullivan, who had for many years acted as solicitors for both the late Mr Frederick Andrews, senior, for other members of the family and for the family company - Andrews & Company (Belfast) Limited. It was always acknowledged that any transaction affecting properties in the Smithfield area negotiated by the late Mr Andrews prior to his death n July 1972, would have been undertaken by that firm of solicitors. It was probable, therefore, that they were best placed to give an accurate account of the purchase of any property acquired in the name of the Patient - whether by initial purchase on his behalf (by his father) or by way of transfer of title from the family Company or from other members of the family. At all events, neither I nor any of my predecessors have been able to discover any other documents which might shed light on the ownership of other property by the Patient such as has been asserted by Mrs Wright in her correspondence. The proposition that other significant property has still to be traced was put forward by Mrs Wright and her solicitor (then Mr Norman Shannon) at a meeting at which they attended with the Official Solicitor (then Mrs Deirdre S Bowers) in the Royal Courts of Justice on 24 June 1988. Neither she nor her solicitor was able to provide any specific information which would assist in identifying properties alleged or believed to be owned by the Patient other than those which had already been disclosed to the Court in the comprehensive report furnished to Lord Justice (then Mr Justice) MacDermott on 30 January 1984.

Since taking up my own appointment as Official Solicitor on 1 April 1992 I have spent an extensive period reviewing the relevant files in the case. I believe that my letter to Mrs Wright dated 22 May 1992 expresses my assessment of the present position as fully and helpfully as possible. My letter was written in the hope that I could, in future, work with Mrs Wright upon a basis of mutual trust and respect for the benefit of the Patient but, sadly, from the tone of Mrs Wright's latest letter of 27 July 1992 I am driven to the conclusion that I may have been wasting my time. In deference to yourself however I will deal with the points raised in that letter:-

1. I gave two views in my letter on the possible status of 61 Smithfield. They were, of course, contradictory although I made it clear which view I preferred. Mrs Wright should realise that in the law, as in other spheres of life, there may be no conclusive answer. Such an answer may be found at the end of expensive court proceedings but as neither of the views expressed in my letter gave the Patient any rights enforceable in law such proceedings would be a waste of time and money.

2. The alterative view to my preferred view offered in my letter of 23 June did not offer three propositions. It offered one. That proposition then gave rise to two further explanatory paragraphs.

3. Mrs Wright correctly postulates that the exact position of 61 Smithfield can be found by comparing maps. Clearly she has access to a map of 61 Smithfield that I have been unable to find. I would be obliged for a copy.

4. The Bill of Costs provided by Boston and Sullivan is meaningless and simply shows that confusion existed in relation to street numbers in this area as long ago as 1961. I have discussed this matter with Miss Sullivan and she believes that this Bill of Costs refers to the area subsequently used for the car showroom. This area was subsequently sold on as 62-65 Smithfield.

To conclude, I am responsible for Mr Andrews' financial affairs and am accountable only to the Court. I have already spent much valuable time researching points raised by Mrs Wright in relation to this vesting issue. In the continuing absence of helpful suggestions from her I do not propose to answer any more queries.

I have copied this letter to Mr O'Hare (Department of the Environment) and Norman Shannon LLB.


Official Solicitor

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