Dear Mrs Douglas,
IN THE MATTER OF FREDERICK ANDREWS - 1978 No 516
Thank you for your (undated) letter which I received on Monday 24 March. As you will see from the last sentence of the second paragraph of my letter to Mr Fearon dated 18 March, I sent a copy of that letter and the enclosures to you simply for information.
I did not intend to put you to the trouble of preparing a detailed reply but after considering your last letter I think that it may be helpful if I set out for your information some points which may clarify matters of detail of which you may have been unaware or in respect of which you do not have a clear understanding.
1. In the opening paragraph of your letter you indicate that you are glad "that it is finally established after such a long time that the Smithfield properties do belong to ... Freddie". The true position in regard to the title to the Smithfield properties was established in the course of a long interview with Mr Wright in the offices of Messrs Tughan & Co at which 2 of the partners in that firm were present on the evening of Thursday 17 November 1983. I reported upon the outcome of that meeting to the Judge personally on the following day and set out a full account of the true position in paragraph 18 of my first report dated 30 January 1984. Since that time I have received no communication from any other party of solicitor seeking to challenge the formal report which I submitted to the Court over 2 years ago and I do not believe that you (or Mrs Eileen Wright) should have had any difficulty in understanding the true position once it had been established.
2. In the second paragraph of your letter you have explained how you came to calculate the figure of £5,000 as the notional figure for back rent over a period of 9 years. I can explain that in calculating the figure of £45,125 in respect of rental income recoverable on behalf of the Patient from Messrs Tughan & Co, which is referred to in paragraph 1 of the Agreement dated 6 March 1986 which was submitted to the Judge for approval at the last hearing on Friday 7 March, there were altogether 3 separate bases for calculation which I adopted. During the period following your father's death on 14 July 1972 the Patient continued to receive a rental income from the Smithfield properties (paid by the Company then under the effective management of Mr William J Andrews) at the rate of £1,500 which had been established during your father's lifetime.
In paragraph 15 of my first report to the Court I described the negotiations which were undertaken between Messrs James Boston & Sullivan, representing the interests of the Company, and Mr Wright, then purporting to act on behalf of the Patient. In that paragraph I reported that following the exchange of correspondence between Messrs Boston & Sullivan and Messrs Tughan & Co it had been concluded that an appropriate rent for both properties would (then) have been £3,000. The first part of my claim for lost rent was based upon the proposition, therefore, that with effect from 1 November 1975 (when, I contended, Mr Wright should have secured a new Lease producing a proper rent for the Patient) up to 1 November 1980 the relevant figure was £3,600 per annum. The second period of 5 years commencing on 1 November 1980 (when the rent recoverable under any new Lease should have been reviewed) was assessed at the revised value of £5,000 per annum.
The final (short) period of 4 months from 1 November last up to the end of February (when the settlement was concluded) took account of the latest valuation and was based upon additional rent for those 4 months of £5,000 - producing the total figure of lost rental income which was recommended to the Court.
3. I have already written to Mr Fearon, representing your sister Mrs Wright, explaining that it is not the function of the District valuer to undertake negotiations on behalf of parties to private commercial lettings.
4. The Smithfield properties are still occupied by Andrews and Company (Belfast) Limited Surely this should read Neville Johnston, Mr. Hall.] - the company which has been in occupation of the properties since the date when they were first purchased by your father on behalf of the Patient.
5. You have enquired about the Patient's tax affairs. In paragraph 30 (on page 14) of my first report to the Court I stated that although provisional assessments had been made in respect of the Patient's income in tax years since 1977-78 the final settlement of his tax liability could only be made after my own claims for recovery of losses which he had suffered had been settled. Messrs Jackson Andrews & Co were engaged by me, with the approval of the Court, to prepare all outstanding Tax Returns. [Other accountants should have been engaged, Mr. Hall, and you know that.]
6. The figure of £35,000 about which you have enquired (and which is mentioned in paragraph 2 of the Agreement dated 6 March 1986) represents the sum originally tendered to the Patient (or, if you prefer, to Mr Herbert Wright then acting on his behalf) which was lodged to credit of an account in the Northern Ireland Industrial Bank on 14 October 1977.
When, as a result of my enquiries, it was established that no legal title had ever been acquired by Andrews and Company (Belfast ) Limited to the Smithfield properties as a result of the transaction in 1977 it followed logically that the Company was entitled to receive that sum (its own money) together with all investment income which had been earned during the period from 14 October 1977 up to the actual settlement date - 12 March 1986.
7. No rent was paid by the Company during the period since 1 October 1977 - for the simple reason that the directors of the Company (then under new management) believed that they had acquired the full legal estate of title to both properties (even though, in fact, Mr Herbert Wright had not proceeded to complete the attempted purchase on their behalf).
8. The present short-term letting of the premises to Andrews and Company (Belfast) Limited is intended to secure for the Patient a rental income until it becomes clear what future disposition may be made in respect of the Smithfield properties.
9. I acknowledge that the precise terms of the final Agreement which I concluded with the solicitors representing Messrs Tughan & Co on 6 March 1986 were not communicated to you personally and copies of the Agreement were only produced for consideration by professional representatives of other parties on the afternoon of the hearing on 7 March. The basis upon which the settlement was concluded, however, was fully described in paragraph 11 of my second report dated 2 December 1985 of which copies were circulated to all interested parties. The terms of the final Agreement dated 6 March 1986 were substantially the same as those set out in the original Agreement dated 19 December 1985 (of which copies were produced for consideration at the hearing on 20 December last) - with the single addition of the adjusted figure for lost rental income which I have described in detail in paragraph 2 above. It cannot be suggested, therefore, that anyone was placed in a difficulty in relation to the terms of the settlement finally recommended to the Court on 7 March 1986 and no professional representative of any other party raised any objection to the terms of the Agreement.
10. Although you were not professionally represented at the last hearing I indicated to you in my letter of 4 March that I would inform the Court of your personal interest in the case so that you might make a submission in respect of any point which you wished to raise with the Judge. On the afternoon of the hearing you did not avail yourself of that opportunity. You also mentioned in your letter that you had "neither legal representative or anyone to speak on behalf of my brother [the Patient] whose name has never been mentioned in any hearing [you] have attended". I do not understand how you come to make this statement. At all the successive hearings before the Judge his sole concern has been to conclude a review of your brother's affairs and it may be said, therefore, that the needs and legal entitlements of Frederick Andrews, junior, have been the central issue on each and every occasion. You will also be aware that during the course of the 5 hearings since 24 February 1984 the Patient has been professionally represented by Mr Brian F Kerr QC and by Mr John A H Martin. Any other party, including you, who may have some separate point or submission to make to the Court in relation to the Patient's affairs is at liberty to make such a submission at any time. [What absolute and utter nonsense, Mr. Hall. You know that is a parcel of lies.]
11. You also state that the Patient's "consultant psychiatrist was never mentioned in the Court at any time". Dr H A Lyons is not a party to the proceedings and his attendance before the Court has not been required in relation to any of the matters which have been under consideration by the Judge. I have, however, kept him fully informed of progress in the case and he received a copy of my second report dated 2 December 1985 - as appears from the circulation list set out on the last page of it.
12. The Lord Chief Justice, Lord Lowry, was personally involved in the case at the end of 1978 when the Patient's affairs were first drawn to his attention and he made the initial Order on 11 January 1979 whereby my predecessor, Mr John G Drennan, was appointed to act as Committee of the Patient's estate. Subsequent hearings in connection with the review of the Patient's affairs became the responsibility of Mr Justice MacDermott but I have also made a full report upon my work in the case to the Lord Chief Justice who has been kept informed of progress from time to time.
13. In paragraph 6 of my letter to Mr Fearon dated 18 March 1986 I indicated that if any member of the family, apart from Mrs Hamilton, wishes to enquire into other accounts about which I have not already reported to the Court he or she should indicate what those accounts are and for what purpose it is suggested that they are now required.
I believe that I have already received all accounts and bank statements in relation to the Patient's affairs which are relevant to the matters about which I have already reported to the Court.
14. In the first paragraph of my letter to Mr Fearon dated 18 March 1986 I referred to a typewritten document dated 10 March 1986 which purports to represent the views of "the Andrews family". My reason for using that phrase to describe the document is simply that it bears no signature or address which would serve to establish its origin.
15. I now enclose for your reference a copy of the Order which has been issued by the Office of Care and Protection setting out the terms approved by the Judge at the last hearing on 7 March 1986 to which I have attached a copy of the Agreement dated 6 March 1986.
F BRIAN HALL