Tasmanian Guardianship Administration Board and the abuse of Maria Cecylia Borkowski
- Category: Guardianship
- Created: Tuesday, 21 January 2020 23:11
- Written by OpenTrial - equity's guardian
What follows is a disturbing story of a gross lack of humanity in dealing with an elderly lady. The evidence is now very compelling of: cultural ignorance, suspicion and confrontation; misinformation generation; exploitation and intimidation; suspected theft, doping and attempted murder; denial of the right to challenge incapacity; and predatory collusion by incumbents in organs of the Tasmanian state that is more typical of the developing world.
SUMMARY OF THE WILFUL ABUSE OF MARIA BORKOWSKI
"Elder Abuse is a single or repeated act, or lack of appropriate action, occurring in any relationship where there is an expectation of trust that causes harm or distress to an older person”. (WHO)
Tasmania has a close-knit elite, to the point of officialdom on the island being incestuous. Cronyism, corruption and conspiracy appear to be rife. The case of Maria Borkowski illustrates this all too well.
Maria Borkowski was a partially deaf, Polish immigrant whose English was poor and, after she lost her husband in 1984, was initially preyed on only by Beverley Sutherland and Jillian Butler, the children of her late husband's former workmates, as Maria owned three properties and stash of gold coins. After Maria discovered she had been deceived into signing a will in their favour in 2003, attempts were made to have her diagnosed as demented, thus rendering her incapable of validly executing subsequent wills to correct the situation. She was systematically drugged until her health deteriorated and had to be admitted to hospital. While in hospital her house was ransacked by Beverley Sutherland, and Maria was asked to sign a Power of Attorney in her favour. In hospital Maria makes a remarkable recovery and Doctor Radford, her doctor who prescribed the debilitating drugs, urges her to sign a deed of Enduring Guardianship in favour of Beverley Sutherland and Jillian Butler if she wishes to go home.
On arrival at her home Maria Borkowski finds her bank book missing, along with 200 pieces of jewellery and gold coins, documents and personal papers. The Public Trustee, rather than making an attempt to recover the missing items for Maria, actually thwarts her own attempts to do so. Beverley Sutherland gains access to Maria's bank account and tens of thousands of dollars go missing, and attempts are then made to intimidate Maria. The police are informed (Dr. Radford is overheard warning Beverley Sutherland of this on the phone) and the Guardianship and Administration Board (GAB) steps in. President of the GAB, Anita Smith, uses the excessively wide powers granted under the Guardianship and Administration Act 1995, to designate Maria as demented, and refuses to admit evidence to the contrary. The diagnosis was made partly because Maria was partially deaf and not conversant in English, and because, prior to her admission to hospital, she had been given medication which adversely affected her cognitive ability. When the medication was stopped and she was given access to interpreters and/or doctors who spoke her language, it was confirmed by many professionals quite separately, that she was not demented.
The Launceston police lay 15 charges of theft (also suspecting attempted murder) against Beverley Sutherland and the Launceston Court of Petty Sessions commits the case to the Supreme Court for trial. Police records show that Anita Smith, the GAB president and wife of the now disgraced Director of Public Prosecutions, Tim Ellis, intervenes in the prosecution case in favour of Beverley Sutherland. Consequently, despite evidence to the contrary, Justice Crawford of the Supreme Court, at the request of DPP Tim Ellis, discharges Beverley Sutherland of all charges on the grounds that Maria Borkowski is demented (as also confirmed by William Verrell, Public Trustee administrator, and Dr. Radford) and that various witnesses did not speak an acceptable standard of English. In contravention of the Tasmanian Charter of Rights for Victim of Crime, the Supreme Court refuses to provide full details of why the charges were dismissed; instead Simon Ward, the police officer who investigated Beverley Sutherland's crimes, is removed from his position as detective.
After Maria dies in 2011, the solicitor, Mr Colin Foon, who drew up the 2003 will, represents Beverley Sutherland as a beneficiary under that will. Solicitor, Mr. T. Whyte of Ritchie & Parker Alfred Green & Co., initially agrees to represent Maria's only kin in England and lodge an application for probate in relation to a later will, but soon withdraws because his and his lawyer wife's professional services are blacklisted by government departments. When Attorney-General, Vanessa Goodwin, is contacted about the skulduggery in the Maria Borkowski case, her adviser mistakenly emails an internal note externally, advising her to remain at “arm's length” in the matter. A Tasmanian resident, who is delving into the skulduggery, finds that several attempts are made to hack into his email account and he traces the culprit to the Launceston police.
It is highly suspicious that no effort has been made to cut through the prevailing farrago in order to ascertain the truth. Instead state bodies and Maria Borkowski's friends and family came to be at loggerheads with each other. Furthermore, for reasons relating to her age, disability and ethnicity, the Commonwealth's Age Discrimination Act 2004, Disability Discrimination Act 1992, and Racial Discrimination Act 1975, as well as Tasmania’s Anti-Discrimination Act 1998, were directly applicable to Maria Borkowski's case, yet nothing was done by the authorities to enforce this legislation.
This abject failure makes it even more vital that state institutions, such as Tasmania's GAB and Public Trustee, in whose care the welfare and lives of the vulnerable are placed, are wholly transparent and accountable, so that they conduct themselves in a way which is above reproach. That most certainly was not the case with Maria Borkowski who, as a result, came to the end her life fearful, dispossessed and without dignity.
Justifiably, questions are now being asked about the integrity of the GAB and why many elderly have come to fear its excessive powers; powers which, even in an undemocratic, non-Western country, would seem draconian. In addition to the GAB (and the Public Trustee) enjoying judicial immunity when hearing and determining matters - i.e. protection from civil suits, including claims for unlawful discrimination - the GAB also has the power, under section 13 of the Guardian and Administration Act 1995, to criminally prosecute those who identify those who may be victims of GAB's abuse, which could lead to a whistle-blower being fined or even imprisoned. And, this power has been successfully used in the past to thwart accountability and has recently been called upon by Shield Heritage (a Tasmanian firm of barristers and solicitors - see below) to try and intimidate OpenTrial into silence.
OPENTRIAL CALLS FOR A THOROUGH, INDEPENDENT ENQUIRY INTO THE WAY MARIA BORKOWSKI WAS ABUSED WITH IMPUNITY.
PUBLIC INSTITUTIONS UNDER SUSPICION
Tasmania's Guardianship and Administration Board (GAB) was intended to be an independent statutory board with the authority to appoint guardians or administrators to make important decisions affecting the lives and property of people with decision-making disabilities. The Board consists of the President, who is a legal practitioner, and a number of members from legal, medical, accounting and community backgrounds. Members of the Board should be appointed for their knowledge and experience in relevant areas of disability.
The Guardianship and Administration Board generally is supposed only to act where there is a problem that cannot be solved without a legally appointed decision-maker. For example:
- (i) complex financial transactions (eg sale of a house, restrictions on a bank account) are required on behalf of the person and the person has lost capacity to make those transactions,
- (ii) a person with a disability is being neglected, exploited or abused,
- (iii) disputes arise within a family (or between a family and service providers) about the kind of support a person with a disability needs and who should provide it,
- (iv) a person with a disability objects to a plan for his or her care that is supported by family, friends and service providers.
An enduring guardianship with the GAB is intended to provide certainty about who will make personal decisions for the person who is the subject of the guardianship should he/she lose decision-making capacity. An enduring guardian is not empowered to make decisions about the ward's finances or estate. However, a guardian can make decisions about the ward's healthcare, accommodation and who visits the person, or what support services that person should receive (e.g. meals on wheels, physiotherapy).
The enduring guardian is responsible for:
- (i) Acting in accordance with any conditions or wishes expressed in the instrument of appointment,
- (ii) Acting in the ward's best interests and promoting the ward's dignity,
- (iii) Ensuring that the ward retains as much freedom of action and decision as is possible,
- (iv) Considering the ward's wishes before imposing any decisions upon him/her.
Under section 11 (2) - Procedure of Board - of the Guardianship and Administration Act 1995 - the Board -
(a) must, in hearing any matter, act according to equity and good conscience without regard to technicalities or legal forms; and
(b) is bound by the rules of natural justice; and
(c) is not required to conduct its proceedings in a formal manner.
(3) Schedule 2 has effect with respect to the procedure of the Board.
SCHEDULE 2 PART 2 - Administrative Procedures 2. Procedure at meetings, &c. The procedure for the calling of, and for the conduct of, meetings of the Board is to be, except for any procedure specified in this Schedule, as determined by the Board. 5. Policies and procedures of the Board The Board may, with the approval of the President, adopt policies and procedures to be followed by the Board for members or employees of the Board in the administration of this Act. 6. Power of President to give directions Where there is no policy or procedure adopted by the Board, the President may give such directions as he or she considers appropriate in respect of any matters arising in the administration of this Act by the Board.
(4) The Board is not bound by the rules of evidence but may inform itself in relation to any matter in such manner as it thinks fit.
Under s 20(1) of the Act, the GAB may appoint a guardian or administrator in respect of person if it is satisfied that the person:
(a) is a person with a disability; and
(b) is unable by reason of the disability to make reasonable judgements in respect of all or any matters relating to his or her person or circumstances; and
(c) is in need of a guardian
Under s 20(3) of the Act, the GAB must not make an order under subsection 20(1) unless it is satisfied that the order would be in the best interests of the proposed represented person.
Under s 51 - Administration Orders
(1) If, after a hearing, the Board is satisfied that the person in respect of whom an application for an order appointing an administrator or an order appointing a guardian is made–
(a) is a person with a disability; and
(b) is unable by reason of the disability to make reasonable judgements in respect of matters relating to all or any part of his or her estate; and
(c) is in need of an administrator of his or her estate–
the Board may make an order appointing an administrator of that person's estate.
(2) In determining whether or not a person is in need of an administrator of his or her estate, the Board must consider whether the needs of the proposed represented person could be met by other means less restrictive of the person's freedom of decision and action.
(3) The Board must not make an order under subsection (1) unless it is satisfied that the order would be in the best interests of the proposed represented person.
Thus, procedure for hearings under the Guardianship and Administration Act 1995 is extremely loose and, arguably, prone to abuse. This is because it relies on the terms: 'equity' and 'good conscience', 'natural justice' and 'satisfied' (all undefined in the Act) and it is also subject to the discretion of the Board and the Board's president. Even Tom Saltmarsh, Senior Investigation Officer at the Mental Health Tribunal, could not throw any light on these crucial terms.
Yet another reason why the GAB is prone to overreach itself, with disregard for the welfare of those who come within its orbit, is Section 13 of the Guardian and Administration Act 1995:
13. Reports of proceedings
(1) Except as provided by subsection (2), a person must not publish – (a) any particulars calculated to lead to the identification of any person in respect of whom any proceedings of the Board have been brought or any other person concerned in the proceedings; and (b) pictures of any person in respect of whom proceedings have been brought or any other person concerned in the proceedings. (2) Where the Board considers that it is in the public interest to do so, the Board may determine that a person may publish, or cause to be published in accordance with its determination, a report of any proceedings of the Board. (3) A person who fails to comply with this section is guilty of an offence and is liable on summary conviction to a fine not exceeding 20 penalty units or imprisonment for a period not exceeding 6 months or both.
This is a draconian provision for an organisation, which has none of the integrity and professionalism of a court of law, to hide behind. It is the GAB itself which has the power to decide whether its proceedings should be made transparent and, therefore, accountable. This kind of self-censorship invites abuse, and section 13 is clearly the reason why Australians are so afraid to bring the GAB to account.
Since Maria Borkowski's abuse, a number of other cases have come to light (see below) which show that the GAB demonstrably failed in its duty to show humanity and: "promote a ward's dignity, ensure a ward retains as much freedom of action and decision as is possible, and to consider a ward's wishes before imposing any decisions upon him/her".
Properly, it ought not be in the GAB's or the Public Trustee's remit to, in effect, designate a person as demented. Properly, it is an Administrative Tribunal which should handle matters of alleged incapacity. It should be the Public Advocate’s office that handles the investigative part of such cases, looking into the issues at hand and then reporting back to the Tribunal. The hearing officer – after hearing testimony from lawyers/solicitors, medical personnel, friends, etc. – then makes a determination about capacity/incapacity and whether or not the person should be assigned a Temporary Guardian from the Public Advocate’s office.
Unfortunately, Tasmania is the only Australian state that does not have a single tribunal and administrative appeals structure. On 28th April, 2015, the Hodgman Liberal Government declared it has commenced work to assess the feasibility of a single Civil and Administrative Tribunal for Tasmania which could "reduce duplication and improve access to justice".
Tasmania's Mental Health Act 2013 came in to effect on 17th February 2014. The Act's key features are that it:
• does not enable a person with capacity to be treated against their will;
• enables decisions about treatment and treatment setting to be made within one legislative framework by a single body;
• establishes a single treatment order which enables the authorisation of treatment in either a community or inpatient setting, or through a combination of settings; and
• requires all decisions made under the legislation which effectively infringe on a consumer's civil rights to be reported to the Tribunal so that the decisions can be reviewed as and when required. (OUR CONCERN: as a safeguard, this provision is undermined by the fact that eight members of the GAB also sit on the Mental Health Tribunal)
Under the Act one has the right to:
• apply to the Tribunal to review any assessment order or treatment order made.
• a review on one's behalf.
• appeal any decision made by the Tribunal.
MENTAL HEALTH TRIBUNAL SECRECY: When the Mental Health Tribunal was asked whether there was, where decisions which effectively infringe on a consumer's civil rights are reported to the Tribunal for review, any overlap of the Mental Health Tribunal's remit with that of the Guardianship and Administration Board and the Public Trustee, a very guarded reply was received from Tom Saltmarsh, Senior Investigation Officer at the Mental Health Tribunal. He, in essence, asked: Why do you want to know?
AN ADDITIONAL REASON WHY IT HAS BEEN SO DIFFICULT, in this case of abuse of Maria Borkowski, to bring the GAB to account. The Board is suspiciously replete with what appear to be incestuous and nepotistic professional relationships: of the 25 members of the GAB today, 15 are/were legal practitioners/barristers/solicitors, 8 are members of the Mental Health Tribunal, 6 are/were members of a community legal aid centre/legal aid commission, 3 are members of the Anti-Discrimination Tribunal, and 2 are employees of the GAB in another capacity. Oddly, 2 are directors of the Motor Accident Insurance Board, and 2 are members of the Integrity Insurance Board under the Racing Regulations Act!
It is interesting to note that Court of Appeal for England and Wales (a common law jurisdictions, like Australia) on 16th June, 2015, declared that people without mental capacity must always be directly involved in legal proceedings about their personal liberty. The judgement affects people being cared for in hospital, care homes or supported living with conditions, such as Alzheimer's, autism or learning disabilities.
Tasmania's Public Trustee
Tasmania's Public Trustee claims to be an independent and impartial organisation providing specialist services in relation to wills, estates and trustee services. The Public Trustee is a Government Business Enterprise owned by the Government on behalf of the Tasmanian Community. It was established under the Government Business Enterprises Act 1995.
The Board of the Public Trustee is responsible to the Treasurer and the Attorney-General for managing and conducting the business and affairs of the Public Trustee in accordance with sound commercial practice. It works to ensure that the Public Trustee performs its statutory obligations.
Tasmania's Director of Public Prosecutions
At the time of the events mentioned below, Tim Ellis was Tasmania’s Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP). Most DPPs enjoy what is an “effective life tenure”. However, in January, 2015, his employment was terminated on the grounds of misbehaviour, because of a car crash in 2013, in which he was involved. His car crashed head-on into another while he was driving on the wrong side of the road. Ellis claimed that he had fallen asleep while driving due to sleep apnoea. In the original hearing, Magistrate Chris Webster found that it was "utterly inconceivable' that a vehicle could have been driven for at least 1.5 kilometres in the same lane and round a bend while the driver was asleep. Ellis was convicted of negligent driving resulting in a death. He then appealed to the Supreme Court on 29 grounds against the decision; but these were rejected and he was sentenced to four months in jail, wholly suspended, and disqualified from driving for two years.
Both lack of accountability where power over another's life is exercised and incestuous official relationships in high public office, must be steadfastly avoided, as they offer grounds for suspicion where malfeasance is not tackled: Anita Smith, president of the GAB, is (now former) DPP Tim Ellis' wife.
THOSE THAT FAILED HER
Tim Ellis - Director of Public Prosecutions in Tasmania at the time.
Lara Giddings - Former Tasmanian Labor premier and Attorney-General, who is currently Shadow Attorney-General.
Kylie Hillier - Public Guardian and Maria Borkowski's appointed guardian from February, 2006.
Peter Maloney - CEO of the Public Trustee
Dr. Jan C. Radford, B.Med.Sci., M.B., B.S., F.R.A.C.G.P., M.Psych.Med - Maria Borkowski's General Practitioner from 1991 to 2006.
Anita Smith - president of the Guardian and Administration Board and (now former) DPP Tim Ellis' wife.
Beverley Ann Sutherland - of 18 Nobelius Dr., Legana, TAS 7277, born on 19th November, 1943, known to Maria Borkowski from the age of ten and for some time appointed Enduring Guardian.
William Verrell - Public Trustee administrator of Maria Borowski's affairs for three years,
Various supporters - who, being highly suspicious of the authorities, adopted a confrontational attitude and ill-conceived tactical methods that brought them into disrepute and caused their intentions to be misconstrued and which, consequently, were detrimental to justice being achieved for Maria Borkowski.
DETAILED CASE CHRONOLOGY
1960 - Maria Cecylia Borkowski (born 3rd August, 1928) who formerly worked as a nurse in Poland, arrives in Australia to marry Boleslaw Borkowski. She resides at 14 Colgrave Street, Trevallyn, Riverside, 7250, Tasmania.
4th May, 1971 - A will is drawn up for and executed by Boleslaw Borkowski. His wife, Maria Borkowski, and his niece, Bogumila Beck, are named as beneficiaries. The Tasmanian Permanent Executors and Trustees Association Limited are appointed as Executor and Trustee. T.W. Maloney Solicitors of Launceston [now P. L. Corby & Co] are the appointed solicitors.
1984 - Boleslaw Borkowski dies aged 73.
13th November, 1984 - P. L. Corby & Co. confirm by letter that Maria Borkowski is now the registered proprietor of the properties that formed part of her late husband's estate. No reference is made to a will or the granting of probate.
14th March, 1986 - Land Maria Borkowski had obtained by means of a Crown Purchase in October, 1965, in Lulworth, TAS 7252 (003389 GRANT 749M2 LOT 34 SEC G LULWORTH), was sold for $7,000.
ENDURING POWER OF ATTORNEY TO BEVERLEY SUTHERLAND
10th November, 1995 - An Enduring Power of Attorney in favour of Beverley Sutherland, with wide-ranging financial implications, is drawn up and witnessed by Collin J. Foon of P. L. Corby & Co., of Launceston and signed by Maria Borkowski. It is unclear whether Maria Borkowski, whose English is poor such that she requires an interpreter, is aware of the full implications of this deed.
22nd November, 1995 - The Enduring Power of Attorney is registered under the number: 70/2496.
17th May, 1996 - It is discovered that Boleslaw Borkowski's bank account is still open, but his name has been altered. It is alleged that on his death there was $300,000 in the account.
SALE OF 16 COLGRAVE STREET
1st March, 2002 - Collin J. Foon of solicitors, P. L. Corby & Co., in a letter to Maria Borkowski, confirm the sale of 16 Colgrave St., Trevallyn, TAS 7250. According to Beverley Sutherland, who persuaded Maria Borkowski to sell, the proceeds of the sale are deposited in a building society account; but no further details are provided.
"GIFT" OF $70,000 TO BEVERLEY SUTHERLAND
12th March, 2002 - Maria Borkowski "gifts" $70,000 to Beverley Sutherland, who, rather coincidentally, arranges the first medical assessment of Maria Borkowski.
Throughout 2002 - Dr. Jan C. Radford, Maria Borkowski's General Practitioner, prescribes steadily increasing doses of Monoplus, Methyldopa, Diltiazem, Hydopa and Cardizem, ostensibly to control blood pressure.
BEVERLEY SUTHERLAND MADE PRINCIPAL BENEFICIARY IN WILL
11th July, 2003 - A will, containing incomprehensible apportionments (totalling 280 hundredths!) of Maria Borkowski's estate on her death, is drawn up and then signed by Maria Borkowski in the presence of Collin J. Foon, of Corby & Co. Beverley Sutherland is the principal beneficiary and Jillian Butler the secondary beneficiary. The will appoints Beverley Sutherland and Maxwell John Butler as Secretary and Foreman, Executors and Trustees.
22nd June, 2005 - Dr. Radford diagnoses dementia and paranoia, and prescribes the anti-psychotic, behavioural drug, Risperdal, "to help memory".
25th August, 2005 - Beverley Sutherland takes Maria Borkowski to Dr. Razay’s memory clinic in Launceston General Hospital for a first consultation. Sutherland provides "history", Dr Razay diagnoses dementia/Alzheimer’s and Reminyl is prescribed. Dr Razay gives Maria Borkowski a MME score of 18/30.
MARIA BORKOWSKI DECLARES SHE IS FEARFUL OF BEVERLEY SUTHERLAND
19th September, 2005 - In a Statutory Declaration (certified 03.02.06), Maria Borkowski declares she is afraid of Beverley Sutherland.
BEVERLEY SUTHERLAND ADMINISTERS LARGE DOSES OF 'SUPPLEMENTS' - MARIA BORKOWSKI EXHIBITS SYMPTOMS
September, 2005 - Maria Borkowski is given a large dose of "vitamin pills" by Beverley Sutherland and Jillian Butler and is required to take them under supervision. Subsequently, friends and neighbours observe that Maria Borkowski behaves erratically, is short-tempered and disorientated, has a puffed up face with red blotches and is sleepy.
2nd October, 2005 - Maria Borkowski is admitted to hospital and is diagnosed as having pneumonia (this is later changed to salmonella). According to the case notes of Sheryl Heath, Maria Borkowski was "... found confused by carer and faecally incontinent. ... on admission not oriented to place or time."
BEVERLEY SUTHERLAND REMOVES PROPERTY FROM MARIA BORKOWSKI'S HOME
5th October, 2005 - Henryk Stepien arrives at Maria Borkowski’s house to leave food, provided by Eva Karja Gutray, in the laundry room, just as he had done during the preceding days. He finds Beverley Sutherland and her husband removing property from the house onto a trailer. They inform him that Maria Borkowski was admitted to hospital on Sunday. This is the first Maria Borkowski's family and friends knew of her hospitalisation. The food Henryk Stepien left for her had been removed by someone, so they did not suspect her admission to hospital and they were not informed. While Maria Borkowski was in hospital, Mrs. Jadwiga Izbicky (who had, until earlier that year, taken Maria Borkowski to church daily since her husband, Boleslaw, died in 1984) collects, washes and returns Maria Borkowski’s laundry, and purchases a new pair of slippers for her. When Mrs. Izbicky visits, either Beverley Sutherland or Jillian Butler are there, but, on her arrival, each time they leave immediately. Mrs Izbicki observes that Maria Borkowski is clearly afraid of Beverley Sutherland and under her influence. Maria Borkowski begs her friend, Eva Gutray, to appoint a lawyer to represent her; but, perhaps out of fear of Beverley Sutherland and Jillian Butler, when Maria Borkowski's family members in England appoint a lawyer to act on Maria Borkowski's behalf and to protect her human rights, she changes her mind.
8th October, 2005 - Nurse K. Dalgleish of Launceston General Hospital receives a 'phone call from ‘Beverley’ at 12.50, stating that ‘Sam’ will bring in the Power of Attorney document, and that a new Power of Attorney will to be drawn up on Monday.
10th October, 2005 - Colin Foon (Maria Borkowski’s lawyer)informs nursing at Launceston General Hospital that, to his knowledge, Beverley Sutherland has a Power of Attorney document from Maria Borkowski. If there are any other people claiming to have a Power of Attorney for Maria Borkowski, Colin Foon advises that they need to produce the document and Maria Borkowski needs to revoke the Power of Attorney with Beverley Sutherland.
11th October, 2005 - Nurse Monaghan confirms that SB brought in a Power of Attorney document dated 06/05/2003, conferring Power of Attorney on SB.
12th October, 2005 - Eva Gutray alleges that Beverley Sutherland calls her for the first time and asks her to confirm that Maria Borkowski has no living relatives and that she (Sutherland) is her first of kin. When Eva Gutray refuses, it is alleged Sutherland asks, "What percentage do you want?" "What percent?" "From the estate, if you help me put Maria into a nursing home." Telecom can confirm the call was made.
MARIA BORKOWSKI MAKES 'REMARKABLE' RECOVERY - NO SIGNS OF DEMENTIA
14th October, 2005 - Krystyna Beck (Maria Borkowski's niece who resides in England) speaks to Dr. Macdonald and is told Maria Borkowski has made a remarkable recovery and, with some additional social help, can be released back into the community, under the care of Beverley Sutherland. A scan requested by Dr. Jan C. Radford reveals no sign of Alzheimer's disease or dementia exist.
October, 2005 - Family members try to appoint Mr. Bennett of Bennett A. R. (Solicitors and Barristers) 9-13 George St, Launceston, Tasmania 7250, as solicitor for Maria Borkowski; but when he calls on her in hospital she declines to instruct him, apparently under pressure from Jillian Butler and Beverley Sutherland (who had visited Maria Borkowski earlier that day). Colin Foon, also visits Maria Borkowski to tell her he will look after her interests.
DEED OF ENDURING GUARDIANSHIP IN FAVOUR OF BEVERLEY SUTHERLAND - MARIA BORKOWSKI ALLOWED HOME
18th October, 2005 - Maria Borkowski, at the instigation of Dr. Radford and Beverley Sutherland, signs a deed of Enduring Guardianship in favour of Beverley Sutherland and Jillian Butler, after being assured she would then be allowed to go home. Dr. Macdonald deems her competent to sign even though, four months earlier, Dr. Radford diagnosed significant dementia.
MARIA BORKOWSKI FINDS VALUABLES, DOCUMENTS & PERSONAL PAPERS MISSING
26th October, 2005 - Maria Borkowski is discharged from hospital. The principal diagnosis is now viral gastroenteritis, with broncho-pneumonia also present. On arrival at her home Maria Borkowski finds her bank book missing, along with all valuables, documents, personal papers. In fact, during Maria Borkowski's absence 200 pieces of jewellery and gold coins go missing (her late husband was often paid for his work as a carpenter in gold by immigrants from Europe after WWII) along with numerous other items (referred to in detail in an insurance claim dated 25th May, 2007). This would be very distressing for anyone, let alone an elderly lady recently discharged from hospital after a serious infection. The Public Trustee makes no attempt to recover Maria Borkowski's assets and thwarts her own attempts to do so.
15th December, 2005 - Beverley Sutherland takes Maria Borkowski for a second consultation with Dr. Razay, who, having been cared for in hospital in October, achieves a MME score of 21/30, significantly higher than previously.
MARIA BORKOWSKI SEEKS HELP FROM EVA GUTRAY
18th January, 2006 - Maria Borkowski requests the help of Eva Gutray, to help her deal with what she perceives as the controlling influences of Dr. Jan Radford and Beverley Sutherland, her Enduring Guardian, and because she is having to ask people to lend her money as she cannot find her bank book to access the ample funds her late husband left her. Maria Borkowski claims that Beverley Sutherland retained her bank book after the house was sold and told her that she had better not complain or she would be placed in a nursing home. Maria Borkowski also expressed her fears of the Sutherland and Butler sons, and stiffened and even wet herself when the name of those ranged against her were mentioned.
MONEY AT BANK MISSING
Late January, 2006 - Maria Borkowski visits her bank and requests a new bank book. It is discovered that only $4,386.28 remains in the account. When this is queried at the bank it is revealed that Beverley Sutherland claimed that Maria Borkowski gave $70,000 to relatives on 12th March, 2002, although no specific beneficiary was noted. Maria Borkowski had been unaware of this and was visibly distressed.
30th January, 2006 - On the bank confirming that Beverley Sutherland has access to Maria Borkowski's account, this right is revoked by Maria Borkowski who confirms that Beverley Sutherland was only authorised to withdraw money from the account to pay bills and to provide Maria Borkowski with some cash each month (about $300). Maria Borkowski used to sign withdrawal slips for that purpose. Maria Borkowski had no intention of allowing Beverley Sutherland to manage her money; but was under the impression that if she did not grant Beverley Sutherland a Power of Attorney she would be taken into care.
31st January, 2006 - Maria Borkowski sends Beverley Sutherland a signed letter asking her to return all the items she has taken from her house and requests no further contact.
3rd February, 2006 - Maria Borkowski revokes the Power of Attorney granted to Beverley Sutherland in 1995, and informs Sutherland accordingly, while also confirming Sutherland is no longer to be involved in her personal affairs, and requesting the return of all bank statements, bank books and any other property which Sutherland may have taken.
ATTEMPTS TO INTIMIDATE
4th February, 2006 - Jillian & Max Butler pay an intimidating visit on Maria Borkowski such that Krystyna Beck (Maria Borkowski's niece) speaks to Maria Borkowski on the 'phone from England to help calm her down. Later that day Maria Borkowski sends her relatives in England a letter thanking them for coming to her aid and explaining that she previously saw Beverley Sutherland as a friend who would take her to the doctor when necessary, or go to the bank on her behalf, as she had weak legs. She explains that the previous year Beverley Sutherland had brought her 'vitamin' tablets which made her head spin, impaired her vision and made her feel fatigued (subsequent medical reports on Maria Borkowski show that her concentration was badly affected by the 'vitamin' tablets), and that, when in hospital, Sutherland had asked her to sign a document stating she wished to be admitted to a care home. Maria Borkowski also writes that when she returned from hospital Sutherland was very harsh to her, tried to isolate her and that her bank book and other documents could not be found. Maria Borkowski also confirms that she is frightened of Sutherland because she threatened to place her in the custody of the authorities, and feared that she would be destroyed. She feels she was saved by the routine visits of a lady who came to clean, bring food and bathe her. Maria Borkowski confirms that it was her husband's wish to leave their estate to relatives.
6th February, 2006 - Public Guardian, Kylie Hillier, visits Maria Borkowski and is arrogant and abrasive, ordering Maria Borkowski around the house without even introducing herself.
8th February, 2006 - An Enduring Power of Attorney is granted by Maria Borkowski to Krystyna Beck.
10th February, 2006 - Eva Gutray, in whose house Maria Borkowski had been staying for the previous two weeks, receives a letter from Beverley Sutherland advising of a care meeting decision and requesting that Maria Borkowski be returned to her home to start a period of respite to commence on 13th February. Eva Gutray is informed that should Maria Borkowski not be at 14 Colgrave Street, Trevallyn, by 12 noon on that day, Maria Borkowski would be collected with the assistance of members of the Justice Department. Maria Borkowski is terrified at the prospect of going home.
12th February, 2006 - Maria Borkowski reports her concerns about the whereabouts of her savings and investments, as well as other matters, to the Launceston police. Detective Sergeant Simon Ward of the Launceston police commences an investigation into the conduct of Beverley Sutherland, who is suspected of abusing her appointment as Enduring Guardian.
February, 2006 - Maria Borkowski's new solicitor, Mr. Bennett, is instructed to file a restraining order on Beverley Sutherland. Beverley Sutherland contacts Mr. Bennett claiming Maria Borkowski is incapable and threatens to sue. Mr. Bennett ceases to act for Maria Borkowski.
THE GUARDIAN AND ADMINISTRATION BOARD STEPS IN
14th February, 2006 - The GAB makes directions in respect of Maria Borkowski’s guardianship, including the suspension for 28 days of the Enduring Guardianship conferred on Beverley Sutherland and Jillian Butler, the appointment of the Public Guardian as Enduring Guardian during the suspension, and an investigation into the suitability of Maria Borkowski's current living arrangements. The directions also provide that should reports indicate any immediate risk to Maria Borkowski’s health and well-being, the Public Guardian shall remove Maria Borkowski to a place of safety, and that the Public Guardian is authorised to seek the assistance of the police, etc. in doing so.
15th February, 2006 - Subsequent to an earlier revocation of Beverley Sutherland’s Enduring Guardianship being signed and witnessed by Assistants to the Legislative Council, Suzanne Carrac..r and Dianne Elizabeth Bucknell, a second revocation is signed by Maria Borkowski. The revocation is registered under no. PA12039.
21st February, 2006 - The Power of Attorney revocation is registered under no. PA13040 and the Enduring Power of Attorney granted by Maria Borkowski to Krystyna Beck is registered under no. PA13041.
24th February, 2006 - GAB hearing takes place attended by Maria Borkowski, Eva Gutray, SB, the Sutherlands and the Butlers. The Hon. Kerry Finch is an observer, Mrs. Jaworski the interpreter, Ann Currann GAB's Investigating officer and Anita Smith the chair.
Beverley Sutherland's and Jillian Butler’s Enduring Guardianships are voluntarily revoked - application No.2378. Eva Gutray objects to the appointment of Public Guardian, Kylie Hillier, as Maria Borkowski's guardian; but is prevented from defending Maria Borkowski, or from providing more information about her to the Board. Anita Smith, the GAB President, completely ignores Maria Borkowski and her supporters. When SB asks to whom she should complain about such unfair treatment, Anita Smith laughs in her face, saying, "To whom? I am the boss!"
An Emergency Guardianship Order is made which appoints Public Guardian, Kylie Hillier, as guardian of Maria Borkowski. The powers and duties of the guardian are to remain in effect for 28 days and are to be limited to decisions relating to:
- (i) accommodation of Maria Borkowski including powers to:
- (a) use the police, etc. to ensure that Maria Borkowski complies with the guardian’s decisions concerning accommodation,
- (b) implement restrictions upon the persons who may visit Maria Borkowski if the guardian reasonably believes that those persons may have an adverse effect upon Maria Borkowski.
- (ii) health care for Maria Borkowski.
- (i) accommodation of Maria Borkowski including powers to:
27th February, 2006 - The GAB makes an Emergency Administration Order, appointing the Public Trustee as administrator for the subsequent 28 days, and ordering that the Recorder of Titles be notified that the order operates with respect to Enduring Power of Attorney Registered No.70/2496 (which has been assigned to the Public Trustee pursuant to section 32(3) of the Powers of Attorney Act 2000), revocation PA12039, revocation PA13040, and Enduring Power of Attorney PA13041. This has the effect of invalidating all previous Powers of Attorney for 28 days.
Maria Borkowski, with Eva Gutray, visit Dr. Radford to confirm Maria Borkowski's registration with the Polish-speaking Dr. Kulinski. Dr. Radford, when told that Beverley Sutherland and Jillian Butler have mysteriously become beneficiaries under Maria Borkowski's will (?? see: entry for 16th October, 2013), accuses Eva Gutray of being after Maria Borkowski's money. After checking the will and being informed, in confidence, that the police are investigating Beverley Sutherland, Dr. Radford 'phones Sutherland to warn her about the investigation.
CHARGES OF THEFT LAID AGAINST BEVERLEY SUTHERLAND
27th April, 2006 - Police arrest, charge, process and detain Beverley Sutherland for court. Complaint number 35034/2006 is laid before Launceston Court of Petty Sessions charging that between 12th March, 2002 and 15th March, 2002, Beverley Sutherland stole monies to the value of $70,000 from Maria Borkowski. The hearing is set down to commence at 2.15 p.m. Bail is granted on a bond of $10,000.
10th May, 2006 - The DPP Liason Office confirms that the seven reasons for discharging Beverley Sutherland include: (i) a chart prepared by the investigating officer was somewhat (unintentionally) 'misleading', (ii) Guardianship documentation forwarded by Anita Smith (the DPP's wife) of the GAB, after contact by the DPP, supports the accused's stance, (iii) the DPP feel the GAB demonstrated [Maria Borkowski's friends' and relatives'] clear motive of their own personal gain to fan the allegations against the accused, and (iv) there is a lack of evidence of the accused spending large amounts of money on lifestyle or gambling.
26th May, 2006 - Complaint number 36652/2006 is laid before the Launceston Court of Petty Sessions against Beverley Sutherland, charging that between 5th January, 2001 and 2nd March, 2004, she stole the following amounts of cash from Maria Borkowski 1. $10,000, 2. $2,500, 3. $2,000, 4. $2,500, 5. $10,000, 6. $2,000, 7. $2,000, 8. $1,200, 9. $500, 10. $1,000, 11. $2,000, 12. $1,000, 13. $187 and 14. $117 (total: $37,004). The hearing is set down to commence at 9.45 am, 2nd June, 2006.
28th August, 2006 - Beverley Sutherland appears before Mr. Forteath, a Justice in Launceston Court of Petty Sessions, to answer charges against her. She is committed to appear in Launceston Supreme Court on 3rd October, 2006, at 10 a.m. for trial.
16th June, 2006 - A GAB hearing commences with Maria Borkowski and her lawyer, Mr. Crampton, in attendance. Eva Gutray and Robert Beck are told to wait outside. Maria Borkowski is eventually told that she is free; but soon after one elderly GAB committee member leaves for the airport and another for lunch, Anita Smith and William Verrell, Public Trustee administrator, consult and make a GAB order providing that a guardian be appointed to take over Maria Borkowski’s affairs on the grounds that she is suffering from dementia and has “No Capacity”. Subsequently, Eva Gutray arranges for Maria Borkowski to see a specialist, for a second opinion; but the appointment is cancelled by the GAB, which declines to consider a second opinion on Maria Borkowski’s mental capacity.
June, 2006 - Unbeknown to Maria Borkowski, her pension is stopped unilaterally for four and a half months.
10th August, 2006 - On a trip to a supermarket, when trying to pay for her goods, Maria Borkowski discovers to her great shame and humiliation, that she has no money in her account to buy milk, bread, other food and household items, because her pension has been stopped. She is obliged, instead, to rely on the generosity of her friends to buy food and pay household bills.
December, 2006 - Finally the Public Trustee pays over $2,900 into Maria Borkowski's account; but, a few weeks later, the Public Trustee takes it back. Maria Borkowski comes to be fearful of state officials and is highly stressed.
DPP DROPS ALL CHARGES AGAINST BEVERLEY SUTHERLAND BECAUSE OF, INTER ALIA, MARIA BORKOWSKI'S POOR ENGLISH AND SUPPOSED INCOMPETENCE
3rd November, 2006 - John Ransom of the Office of the DPP confirms to DPP Tim Ellis that Beverley Sutherland has been committed to trial on a total of 15 charges of stealing under complaints 35034/06 and 36652/06. He also confirms that on 1st November, 2006, he made contact with the DPP's wife, Anita Smith of the GAB, who released to him a transcript of the GAB's proceedings, the reasons for the decisions and a summary of the orders. The reasons, he states, "are thorough and speak for themselves", and he goes on to point out matters of significance for the DPP. Maria Borkowski is described as having been a "confused witness" at the committal proceedings. Further, while the GAB designated Maria Borkowski demented, John Ransom reports that Anita Smith pointed out that the GAB concluded that Maria Borkowski did have sufficient capacity to grant Beverley Sutherland a gift of $70,000 in 2002, even though the GAB's involvement was not until four years later. On these bases, John Ransom recommends that Beverley Sutherland be discharged as there is no reasonable prospect of conviction.
11th December, 2006 - John Ransom confirms this viewpoint to DPP Tim Ellis, particularly in the light of the GAB documentation forwarded to him by Anita Smith, which appears to have greatly influenced the decision not to proceed.
December, 2006 - In apparent contravention of the Tasmanian Code of Criminal Procedure, Justice Crawford of the Supreme Court, in case no. 335/2006, apparently at the request of the DPP Tim Ellis, discharges Beverley Sutherland of all charges under Complaints 35034/2006 and 36652/2006, on the grounds that Maria Borkowski and various witnesses did not speak an acceptable standard of English and that Maria Borkowski was incompetent as confirmed by William Verrell, Public Trustee administrator, and Dr. Jan C. Radford. This is despite the evidence to the contrary from Professor George Mendelsohn, Dr. Andrew Maclaine-Cross and Dr. Kulinski (see entry for 12th June & 18th September, 2009). The foregoing indicates the reason for the dropping of the charges, thus, denying Beverley Sutherland the chance to prove her innocence, is that the GAB and its president Anita Smith, who is DPP Tim Ellis' wife, have passed on their conclusions to the Office of the DPP and which, quite irregularly, heavily influenced the conduct of this criminal case.
Additionally, and rather suspiciously, the subsequent refusal to provide reasons for dropping the charges contravenes the Tasmanian Charter of Rights for Victim of Crime, which states that victims have a right: "To be advised of the entering of a nolle prosequi, the filling of a no bill or the adjournment of charges sine die when the decision is taken not to proceed with charges, and upon request, the reasons for taking such action." However, significantly, decisions made by the Director of Public Prosecutions to charge or not charge someone are not reviewable under the Judicial Review Act and are not able to be appealed against.
Simon Ward is removed from his position as detective. A later Right to Information request to throw light on this Supreme Court decision is rejected.
26th February, 2007 - Maria Borkowski revokes all previous wills and executes a will, drawn up by Rae and Partners of Launceston, appointing Robert and Krystyna Beck as executors and dividing her estate equally between them on her death.
21st June, 2007 - After a hearing on 14th March, 2007, Judge Slicer's judgement in Krystyna Beck & Robert Beck v the GAB Attorney General - Tasmania, in the Supreme Court of Tasmania - TASSC45 - confirms the need for a Financial Administrator and Public Trustee for the subsequent three years.
7th January, 2008 - Maria Borkowski's orthopaedic doctor, Bernard Einoder, who has known her for some time, confirms that Maria Borkowski was not incapable of making her own decisions.
6th November, 2008 - Mrs. Eva Gutray, Mrs. Maria Borkowski and Mrs. Austin attend a meeting, in Launceston, of the Joint Select Committee on Ethical Conduct. At the meeting it is noted that Lara Giddings, State Attorney-General, said she would investigate the Maria Borkowski case. Also at the meeting Mrs. Austin asserts that "worker[s] in big medical centres are offered money to refer people who[m it may be possible] to put in the care of GAB or the State Trustees, and there seems to be a connection between the two."
12th June & 18th September, 2009 - GAB hearings to review the expired 16th June, 2006 administration order. Maria Borkowski is obliged to face Beverley Sutherland, the person she sees as abusing her. Beverley Sutherland is permitted to speak freely; but Maria Borkowski is not permitted by the GAB President, Anita Smith, to state why she dislikes Beverley Sutherland. Maria Borkowski finds the hearing (and her treatment at the hands of the GAB) oppressive and intimidating and conducted in a way that is contrary to natural justice. The medical evidence gathered by Maria Borkowski in support of her case is entirely discounted, including that of eminent psychiatrist, Professor Mendelsson, and her new GP, Dr. Kulinksi. Maria was not treated for dementia by Dr. Kulinski for the previous two years. Maria's own evidence of her allegations of abusive treatment at the hands of Beverley Sutherland, her seeking help and sanctuary at Eva Gutray's (her friend's) house, her request for assistance from her family in England, and her supposed lack of awareness of her own purported dementia, are merely seen by the GAB as corroborative evidence of her disability. Maria Borkowski feels she has no rights to her own property or self-determination, which she finds degrading and humiliating.
The GAB, being satisfied that Maria Borkowski is "a person with a disability, that her disability renders her incapable of making reasoned judgements" appoints The Public Trustee to again take over Maria Borkowski’s affairs until 17th September, 2012, and for the Public Guardian to be her guardian.
EVIDENCE SUPPORTS MARIA BORKOWSKI BEING FREE OF DEMENTIA
5th November, 2009 - A medical report is issued on Maria Borkowski supporting previous reports that she is not demented. Suspiciously, prior to this, each time a second opinion was sought about Maria Borkowski's mental health from specialists, her former doctor, Dr. Jan C. Radford, or the GAB cancelled the appointments. Similarly, an appointment made with Dr. McLaine-Cross to determine whether or not the medication Dr. Radford had prescribed was the cause of Maria Borkowski's erratic, disoriented, soporific behaviour in previous years, was cancelled by the GAB and Dr. Radford. It was for this reason that it was felt necessary to take Maria Borkowski to Professor Mendelson, and eminent psychiatrist in Victoria.
2010 - Maria Borkowski executes her new will and testament, appointing the lawyer, Tim Whyte, and SB as executors. Tim Whyte suddenly withdraws and the will is rejected by Deputy Registrar McManus on the grounds that, in 2006, Dr. Radford proclaimed that Maria Borkowski was demented. No mention is made of the considerable amount of medical evidence which contradicts this. Collin J. Foon, solicitor, confirms by letter that he will be challenging the will. Eva Gutray and SB are granted Power of Attorney; but the Public Trustee objects, and Anita Smith, president of the GAB, uses the power vested in her to dismiss the Power of Attorney. A complaint, accompanied by medical evidence disproving Maria Borkowski's dementia, is lodged with the Tasmanian Law Society to investigate. This is accepted and the matter is currently under review.
28th March, 2010 - Under the headline: "Trusted relatives ripping off elderly", Mrs. Anita Smith (president of the GAB) and Mr Peter Maloney (CEO of the Public Trustee) claim, in a newspaper article, that many relatives are ripping off their "demented" loved-ones, and urge the elderly to "appoint a professional such as … the Public Trustee.” The timing of this article is seen as pre-emptively suspicious, given its proximity to a recently launched campaign instigated by some of the victims of at least seven ongoing cases of alleged abuse by the GAB and/or the Public Trustee. The victims' campaign is aimed at making politicians recognise and address ongoing abuses; but meets with little success.
5th May, 2010 - Maria Borkowski swears an affidavit before Justice of the Peace 4585 regarding the 200 coins (including a WWII Vatican), gold bullion and jewellery that has been taken from her.
17th September, 2010 - Maria Borkowski's treatment is reviewed in a meeting of the GAB that is held at the Ground Floor Hearing Room, Henty House, 1 Civic Square, Launceston. The outcome is deemed predetermined and a foregone conclusion.
MARIA BORKOWSKI DIES
13th July, 2011 - Maria Borkowski dies in the Intensive Care Unit at Launceston General Hospital aged almost 83, leaving an estate valued at Aus$432,713.
2012 - Eva Gutray attempts, assisted by Mr. T. Whyte of Ritchie & Parker Alfred Green & Co., to prove a will dated 24th May, 2010 and purporting to be that of Maria Borkowski. However, the Registrar refuses probate, suggesting that an application be made for a Grant of Probate in Solemn Form.
16th October, 2013 - In order to challenge the 2003 will and testament (see items: 11th July, 2003, and 2010 above) that was rejected by the Deputy Probate Officer, in the Tasmanian Government Gazette, Eva Gutray and SB, on behalf of Krystyna Ewa Beck, Bogumila Beck and Robert Beck, pursuant to a Power of Attorney dated the eighth day of September 2013, declare their intention to apply to the Supreme Court of Tasmania for a grant of administration of the Estate of Maria Cecylia Borkowski deceased, upon intestacy, there being no will of the deceased.
18th November, 2013 - Eva Gutray applies to the Supreme Court for Letters of Administration in relation to Maria Borkowski's estate.
2nd August, 2016 - A letter is received from Shields Heritage, barristers and solicitors of 52 Cameron Street, Launceston, Tasmania, who claim to act for Beverley Sutherland, threatening fines, damages and even imprisonment for factual inaccuracy and defamation; but, rather oddly, without specifying any instances of inaccuracy. Even more oddly, the firm invokes Section 13 of the Guardianship and Administration Act 1995 (see above) in an attempt to silence us and makes the preposterous claim that "The publication [of Maria Borkowski's abuse] is not in the public interest." Significantly, Shields Heritage did not respond to our subsequent request for the substance, if any, behind their threats - they have not refuted any of the specific allegations made above.
THE GAB DECISION WAS WRONG
17th May, 2019 - Judge Brett at the Supreme Court of Tasmania grants probate and affirms:
The grant of probate in respect of Maria's 24th May, 2010, will calls into serious question the decisions of the GAB made on 12th June and 18th September, 2009, and 17th September, 2010, in which it wrongly decided that Maria is "a person with a disability, that her disability renders her incapable of making reasoned judgements", and, thus, appointed the Public Trustee to act for her. It is now very clear that the GAB, in failing to properly consider the evidence proving that Maria was free of dementia, is guilty of a very serious dereliction of duty.
OTHER CASES OF ELDER ABUSE
Below are further cases in which the GAB demonstrably failed in its duty to show humanity and: "promote a ward's dignity, ensure a ward retains as much freedom of action and decision as is possible, and to consider a ward's wishes before imposing any decisions upon him/her".
Mrs. Ruth Rosa Kronberger - (DOB: 24/02/25) of Tamar Park Homes, Legana, Tasmania 7277, formerly of 3 Grace Place Prospect Tasmania 7250, was denied the right to revoke a power of attorney and to appoint representatives of her own choosing on the grounds that she suffered from dementia, even though no medical evidence was provided to this effect and Dr. Razay of the Dementia Clinic at Launceston General Hospital confirmed that the allegation of dementia was false.
Mrs. Margaret Levina Whitney - currently in a nursing home and formerly of 65 Catherine Street, Longford, Tasmania 7301. On her own initiative, an Enduring Power of Attorney was granted by Margaret Whitney to her son, John Wayne Whitney, and her daughter, Charmaine Lynette Whitney (now deceased) on 25th November, 2008 (registered with the Recorder of Titles under no. PA32387). Furthermore, in her will Margaret Whitney provides for the property at 65 Catherine Street, Longford, to be left to her children, Charmaine and John. However, at a meeting at the offices of the Public Trustee, Kylie Hillier proclaims, because she deems John Whitney has no say in the matter, that she will be Margaret Whitney's guardian, and the locks on 65 Catherine Street, Longford, come to be changed. The GAB makes an administration order on 16th April, 2010, stating that Margaret Whitney "was unable to make reasonable judgements in respect of her estate and was in need of an administrator". This was confirmed by an administration order dated 24th April, 2014, which is to remain in effect until 18th April, 2016. The order calls for the administrator to provide a financial plan to address the "negative cash flow", as Margaret Whitney is required to pay $71.55 per day for her nursing home care, which amount exceeds her pension. To cover this amount, John Whitney is told by the Public Trustee to pay rent of $500 per fortnight because he is living in 65 Catherine Street, Longford, at the request of his mother. John Whitney's own pension is not adequate to cover this (he offers to pay rates, taxes, insurance and for water; but this is refused), and estate agents deem the property to be in too poor a condition to let in order to charge rent. John Whitney offers to renovate the house and take his mother out of the care home to look after her himself; but the Public Trustee also refuses this on the grounds that it could be detrimental to Margaret Whitney's health. When he takes his mother home for a few days with the consent of the nursing home, John Whitney is aggressively told by Christine Stacey and Kylie Hillier of the Public Trustee that the police will be called and he will be charged with kidnapping if he does not return her immediately. The Public Trustee next declares it intends to sell 65 Catherine Street, Longford. This causes John Whitney considerable worry and anguish and his concerned mother, who is fully compos mentis, wants the Public Trustee intervention cancelled; but is deemed by Kylie Hillier to have no capacity. On 14th May, 2015, John Whitney is served a Supreme Court writ for the possession of 65 Catherine Street, Longford, by the Public Trustee.
Edna - an 85-year-old Hobart widow was forced from her home by a violent husband suffering from dementia. As a consequence she lost everything, including their $300,000 home, her grandmother’s jewellery, as well as friends and neighbours. She had been married to her husband for 60 years; but in the last seven of these his dementia had made him obsessive and restrictive of her, as well as paranoid and violent.
Exhausted, Edna collapsed at a shopping centre and was taken to a women's refuge. Returning home a week later to collect her clothes, she found her husband had changed his will to make some opportunistic strangers the executors and beneficiaries of his estate. She spent eight weeks in the refuge out of fear that her husband might find her. A few months later, after a chance encounter with her husband's doctor, she learned that he had died. Suffering deep grief and shock, crippled with osteoarthritis, and without access to her home, possessions and papers, she was obliged to try and prove her claim to her husband's estate that they both had strived to build up over 60 years, against that of some exploitative strangers without conscience.
ACTION FOR JUSTICE