Chapter 20 ...the plan to permanently incarcerate
The meeting that took place at the Gold Coast Hospital was a two fold approach. The hospital staff simply wanted what was in the long-term benefit for their patient Tom Jowett. Unbeknown to these people was the covert agenda to use the meeting to have Tom Jowett placed permanently in a nursing home. The idea of this was that in having Tom in a nursing home both Crozier and Smyth had control of his affairs, notwithstanding that he had stubbornly refused to go on earlier occasions. At this stage Smyth had done nothing other than to admit to rumours that Whiteside had EPOA. Crozier had withheld confidential correspondence attesting to this as fact but chose never to reveal it. Thus at the meeting the EPOA was pure hearsay with no-one doing anything to confirm its existence
When Bruce and Iris Whiteside attended the meeting on January 6th 2000, it immediately took on the appearance of an ambush. Whiteside who had absolutely no previous experience of attending such a forum was never informed that both Crozier, the Blue Care Nurse and Tom Jowett's previous solicitor Andrew Smyth would be in attendance. Professionally Smyth should not have been there at all. There was no need at that stage for any lawyer, legal or otherwise to be present. Channells who had called the solicitor did so at Crozier's request never suspecting for a moment that she had succumbed to ulterior motives that did not embrace the welfare of Tom Jowett. Channells was simply Crozier's patsy.
As the meeting opened Whiteside demanded but was refused the attendance of Tom Jowett. This was rejected on the grounds that the nature of the meeting would be too sensitive to their patient. Whiteside accepted this and then listened as therapists, social worker, doctor and ward nurse gave their evaluations and assessment of Tom Jowett in the preceding five weeks. This was done without any colouring of events and with genuine welfare of the patient at large. It was at this juncture that Andrew Smyth acting outside the role of Mr Jowett's legal solicitor endeavoured to sum up as only a paid word-manipulator can the summation of what the others had said. In a word he suggested that for Tom Jowett's welfare that he should be placed in either a hostel or nursing care. Even before Smyth's words had faded Carole Crozier sitting on the right hand of Smyth chimed in 'most definitely'. What masked this attempt to distort the thrust of the meeting was that all parties from the hospital accepted without obvious question the integrity of two supposedly professional people.
When Whiteside who to this point had not said a word rose to speak as he did, he caused a stir that had no precedence as he was to find out later. In an almost Churchillian pose he swept his stretched arm, in an arc, pointing to every individual in the room and accused them of playing God.
'Look at you', he bellowed, 'all playing God. You are sitting here deliberating on a man you deem is not fit to determine his future. You have decided that he shall spend the rest of his life in a nursing home when the chief protagonist here knows full well that he has no wish to do so. Tom Jowett' appointed me as his EPOA to prevent that happening. If that was the only reason then this meeting might have some purpose but Tom Jowett swore me to honour that request and I will do so.
Whiteside went on to give reasons for taking such a strong stand telling the meeting that his own father had wasted away in a nursing home; dying from lack of companionship and loneliness. He was not about to allow an old Battle of Brittain pilot who fought so that we cold live in comparative safety to be cast aside at the end of his life. The cause may have seemed quite noble except that Whiteside was determined as well as he was adamant that a nursing home was out of the question.
It was then that the gloves came off. Channells then asked to site the EPOA. It was obvious that here she was out of her depths. She simply did not understand the terminology of the document to which Smyth was all to eager to assist her. A casual glance and "this is not worth the paper it is written on'. This immediately cast aspersions on Whiteside's claim and in doing so his integrity.
Channells anticipating a confrontation said. ' I'll ring Whitehead Payne and ask them to clarify the document'.
Again the man who was 'now back in court mode' fired back." No, they will only defend their own positions'. The fact was that Andrew Smyth a partner in the firm Robbins Watson was never going to concede that Whiteside had a legitimate EPOA. To do so would negate the plan that he and Crozier had in mind. If the Will went to Whiteside as the old man had had deemed then they would miss out. Smyth therefore used his legal knowledge to destroy that notion
The meeting ended with a plea to Whiteside to allow Mr Jowett to go into nursing. When he refused it was left to send the EPOA onto the GCH lawyers to independently decide whether it was in fact as Smyth claimed 'not worth the paper it was written on or as Whiteside claimed legitimate. At the beginning Whiteside refused to allow the document out of his sight, but later accompanied Channels to have it copied. In the meantime Tom would remain in hospital.
What was interesting about the composition of the meeting was that there were two occupational therapists, a social worker , the Ward Sister and the residential medical officer. Crozier was there as she had been calling on Tom Jowett on a regular basis for nearly five years. Smyth assumed that as Tom's lawyer he had a right to be there although not at the request of his former client. As mentioned he was there ostensibly at the request of Carole Crozier, which of itself does not appear to be a credible reason for being there. The truth here is that in the previous 30 months he had drawn up no less than ten wills and there was no way known that this assumed intervention by a neighbour was going to prise this client from him. In the normal course of events Mr Jowett would die before long and he would be the sole administrator of his estate.
Absent but not known by Whiteside was the non-appearance of the Head of Geriatrics Dr Lennard Chai. Chai who was to play a critical role in the trial that went to Court over probate, claimed a role that did not stand up to scrutiny in the hospital records. Dr Chai took over from Dr Kingston. Nowhere in those records does Dr Chai appear to become involved personally with Tom Jowett. In fact Nurse Tuesley took a phone call from Mr Whiteside personally from Christchurch but in the absence of not being made aware as to who this man was refused to divulge information of their patient. Tuesley records that Whiteside told her to contact Dr Clarke and he would pass on information that he was privy to. In this instance Tuesley did not know who Whiteside was and Whiteside was unaware that the hospital had no idea that an EPOA existed. This state of affairs did not finally resolve themselves until four days later when the social worker rang Dr Clarke and was informed that Bruce Whiteside held an EPOA. This alone should have prompted the GCH to question the authority of the presence of a former lawyer. The ever present Crozier aware as no one else was of the EPOA, was a constant advocate of Andrew Smyth. The GCH should have contacted Mr Whiteside and informed him of the presence of Smyth. The they did not and this prevented Tom Jowett's new lawyer from attending if Whiteside himself could not be present.
The meeting because of the input of what the hospital saw as a professional lawyer that threw into serious doubt the validity of the EPOA, decided to finally check with Whitehead Payne. As well as this the social worker sought to have the EPOA vetted by their own lawyers. The Whiteside's were given three days to reconsider the meetings recommendations to place Tom Jowett in a nursing home.
After the meeting Bruce Whiteside made his way toward Ward 13 down a long covered way. He hadn't gone far when he was overtaken by Dr Ian Fraser who had sat in on the meeting.
"Mr Whiteside, my I have a couple of words with you and Mrs Whiteside.' They stopped and Fraser spoke. I have to congratulate you on the way you handle that meeting in there. We were all wrong-footed because in situations like this the children or relatives of the person being discussed are only too happy to let the system take over. I do not think Tom is as bad as the picture been painted, but I saw other factors at play. The best thing that you can do for the old chap is to take him home. He will die soon enough, but he will notlast long in a nursing home.'. With a tap on the shoulder he was gone.'
Mrs Whiteside turned to her husband. 'What was that all about?'
'That was the doctor who has attended Tom and he can see what's going on'
"You go and see Tom and I'll go back to the car.'
By the time Whiteside reached Ward 13, Sister Lenore Steward had reached the door and was dialling in the code to admit us.
Bruce, I don't want to alarm you but Tom will not recognise you. He will not remember you, so don't be too upset.
'Yes' I am afraid so. Anyway follow me and I'll show you where he is.'
We had no sooner taken a step than who should shuffle around the corner but Tom Jowett'.
'Where the hell have you been all this time.', and as a bewildered Lenore Stewart looked on both men hug each other like long-lost brothers'.
'I would not have believed it had I not seen it with my own eyes', Steward told them both.' You do know who it is Tom?'
He's my best mate. I knew he would come back'.
This then was the terrible fight that Whiteside was fighting. He was literally up against the conventional wisdom of the medical profession, who wanted to play the game according to the rules, set in concrete. He was up against the legal system who viewed all circumstances in keeping with their own mindset.
The way the game was going to be played out was simple. Place Tom Jowett in a nursing home. The lawyer would take over his affairs and when Tom died, the lawyer would carve up the estate and the Blue Nurse would get that which had been arranged in the old man's penultimate will. All very neat and tidy, except that Tom Jowett was a human being with feeling. Whiteside was in for a fight, but how tough and dirty he was to find out soon enough.
Two men would lay themselves wide open to charges by Whiteside of complete professional incompetence that bordered on blatant corruption. underpinned by the elite club of lawyers-cum-politicians-cum lawyers. The brotherhood.
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