Chapter Nine ...Ten Wills
in Thirty Months
This chapter deals with the psychology behind Tom Jowett's many visitation to his lawyer and secondly the agenda behind a solicitor who indulged in the questionable behaviour to his client and the lack of scrupulous integrity in sanctioning his own inability to call into question the moral ethics of practising and benefiting by way of billing.
Tom Jowett was coming to the end of his life. He had no living relations and at 85 he was all alone. A Yorkshire-man, born in Wavertree Liverpool, he had a mind of his own and the one thing he feared most of all was being incarcerated in a nursing home. He dreaded the idea of wasting away his remaining years among people who were uninteresting and past stimulating discourse. This was not new to those who knew him, but anxiety crept into his psyche after Sheila passed away. To those around him, he saw potential carers. His health was fragile when he was ill, but for the rest of the time he was able to manage after a fashion. Few men who have spent the bulk of their lives being waited on in the domestic field, do little more than exist. Meals are missed, the housework is neglected and the ordinary running of the home goes into decline. Some adapt and hardly miss a beat, but when you are 85 and somewhat debilitated by spinal injuries incurred in the Second World War, the opportunity to have someone do it for you is appealing.
To that psyche, is added the irresistible attraction of younger women. Until a few days before his death Tom still found females a source of physical attraction. He had the charm to go with it and he never ceased to use it, often to his advantage.
From April 1996 until March 1999, Tom Jowett was vulnerable to the Blue Care nurse and more particularly to Aged Care Assessment Team, ACAT. Vulnerable in the sense that he could be institutionalised by stealth, duplicity or even straight out necessity. Tom Jowett, like the man who ultimately became his Enduring Power of Attorney, could be most hostile and belligerent to those who either threatened or attempted to have him hospitalised against his wish. Both men were cantankerous by nature and this antagonism was quite often interpreted as 'losing it'. Such is the bureaucratic nature of ACAT that several young operators were found to be quite antagonistic, which compromised their ability to judge impartially. There was also, as Tom Jowett experienced the collusion between medical teams or individuals that tried to work outside the patients knowledge of what was taking place. Jowett felt that at any moment that he would be spirited away against his wish, but to the satisfaction of his carers.
With all this cauldron of intrigue and secrecy going on, Tom who despite his handicaps was never far from the ball and his capacity to 'smell a rat', belied those professionals nurses, doctors and Chief Judges among them, who argued that he was a demented individual. Bruce Whiteside, never doubted the agenda that was being played out to strip the old man with no family of his inheritance. Whiteside a man who withstood the intimidation of Prime Ministers, politicians, business leaders and a host of pseudo intellectuals, has never lacked the courage of his conviction to speak out, no matter who he had in his sights. His motto is If the truth subverts corruption, then fear has no place. It takes brave men to embark on troubled waters, but if the corruption is not challenged then it will become endemic. When that time arrives, men will bridle and fight.
For the time being Whiteside, one of the solitary men in Tom's final years was removed from all the shenanigans going on. Had he known the matter would have been a different story, but he was simply outside the game.
Tom's strategy was quite simple. In engaging these women friends he nurtured hopes of a friendship that would shelter him in the years that he had left. He had nothing to lose.
The reality was much different. Some were married, but those who caused the most turmoil were not. To Tom however they were there to be induced into his realm of potential help. Fran, Irene, Susan and Yoki, were mature women who when they did drop in did so for purely social purposes. Some would come bringing a baked cake, an apple pie or a home made meat pie. Often over a cup of tea, they would discuss mundane things, health and whether there was anything that he wanted. Occasionally house work would be done, perhaps a trip to the grocer to replenish cupboards . There were immediate neighbours who were there if needed and at times Tom really did try their patience. That he was becoming more and more scared of his own situation never really occurred to them, but they accommodated his peculiarities and odd hours. On occasions they responded when he became suddenly distressed by his lung condition, and ordered an ambulance. It was on one of these episodes that Whiteside in calling on him ran into. From the back of the ambulance Tom asked that he look after the house while he was gone. Once the ambulance departed the neighbour who had looked after his house in the past refused to hand over the keys and Whiteside walked away and forgot all about it.
Unbeknown to those who were genuine friends there were incidents happening that that were going un-noticed and would not become evident until much later. These happened after Susan (Sue) Marshall relinquished looking after the books Toward the middle of 1998 or just prior to, Tom's bank accounts began to fall. In a period of nine months his combined accounts held at two banks was depleted by $33,500. $33,500!
The only person who picked up the discrepancy, Whiteside raised concerns to the solicitor who handled the Court case, as well as the barrister who prosecuted the case, was denied the justice of having the issue thrashed out in the Supreme Court. There were many reasons put forward why this should not happen, but to Bruce Whiteside the threat of implicating the Blue Care Nursing organisation over-rode any justice that he was seeking.
As we will see protecting Blue Care Nursing organisation was of more concern to Whiteside's solicitor, than fighting for his client.
To this point July 21st 1997, five Wills and a codicil had been drawn up and legally signed. The lawyer in each case was Andrew Thomas Smyth. In a space of twenty-five months he had taken instructions and implemented them.
It would not be unreasonable to become curious as to why the old war veteran would wear a path to Smyth's office. Smyth's handwritten Attendance Notes make for interesting analysis. He accepts a painting from his client, noting that it is of no value. Why would he make a detail such as this unless of course he felt that in accepting this painting in the clients own home, that it may appear irregular. It is hard to accept that a painting would be of no value, given that his client did not indulge in worthless pieces of art. It would not have been given as to a friend, as the solicitor as his Attendance Note reveals was on company business and had recorded the time spent that evening, namely half an hour, from 5.30pm to 6pm.
Mr Smyth was well aware that Tom Jowett had both breathing and articulation problems, yet there was no one to query why this solicitor kept taking instructions from a client who taxably challenged his conscience, to say nothing of his patience. So why did he continue to take instructions? Was it this aspect that caused Tom Jowett to call on a comparative stranger in 1996, Bruce Whiteside to act as his executor? Was the reason for Smyth not to implement Jowett's instructions to include him as a co-executor, to give him total control of a client with no family to ask questions?
Perhaps in isolating the Attendance Notes as they occur, the reader will see a pattern that the author found somewhat disturbing.
11 Sept 1995 ....noted Tom is ill
13 Oct ....Wants to leave me gold watch - I said no need -see taped notes (read?)
24 Jan 1996 ... ..Don't want deeds in house (when Jowett wanted them to sell his house the solicitor refused to release them)
28 Feb 1996 ....ATS to be executor, ATS to get antique gold watch
28 June .....really ill last few days.
02 Oct .....He'll think about who to put in as residuary --I suggested a charity -but most emphatic-doesn't want Sylvia (Janacek) in it. -he is still clearly in control of his faculties.
29 Nov .....I think he still understands what he is doing--He is indecisive and a bit impetuous as to provns (provisions)-Clearly u'stands (sic) what meaning and effect of Will is.
21 Jan 1997 ....I still think he knows what he is doing re will -annoying, worries about it, but understands.
21 Aug ....Can't write down what he wants- has it in his head. Iris has been marvellous -not to fussed on Bruce.
22 Aug ....$6,000 to Iris (Whiteside) Don't like Bruce anymore.
Apart from the gifts that are offered to the solicitor, there are a few comments that if they do not concern him, certainly are noted. Smyth qualifies his comments with I think. The great irony and readers will understand the duplicity that surrounds a great many in the legal fraternity is that when the balance of control had been legally transferred to Whiteside, the operative conclusion of the solicitor was that his ex-client suffered from dementia, absolutely and without any equivocation. Yet this self evaluation of a client's state of mind was a presumption when he stood to control his estate, but that same presumption when he had lost control was now a matter of emphatic certainty. Not now the qualification of I think but he has .
One of the prerequisites of a lawyer taking instructions from a client in regards to his Will, is to establish clearly in his or her mind that the testator is of 'sound mind'. For the most part clients obviously have 'testamentary capacity' and instructions are taken without giving the matter any thought. If there is any doubt, then the solicitor if he has any sense of morality at all, we seek a medical examination from a qualified doctor. Depending on the outcome and report of the doctor, the client will be free to make a new Will, or he will either seek another medical opinion. If that too prevents him from proceeding then under normal circumstances the previous Will stands.
This is where the integrity of Andrew Smyth is called into question by Bruce Whiteside, using lateral thinking. Andrew Smyth says he was aware that Tom Jowett , a war veteran, suffered from disabilities, had been involved in a car accident and was prone to being rushed to hospital from time to time. In spite of all this Tom's propensity to frustrate people with 'indecision', caused him to mentally question his ability to be conscious of the decisions he was making. Although Smyth by his neglect failed to call the services of medical opinion, he put himself in the position of a doctor of medicine when he said 'I think he still understands what he is doing'. What Smyth the Solicitor and Crozier the senior Blue Care nurse were unaware of was that Tom's apparent difficulty in articulating had nothing to do with 'their silently held view' that he was suffering from dementia, but every thing to do with aphasia. So from ignorance on the part of the senior Blue Care nurse and arrogance on the part of the solicitor Tom Jowett was given the green light to make as many wills as he was prepared to pay for. Tom Jowett was mana from heaven. Surprisingly Smyth skirted around the very problem without recognising it. On 21 of Aug he noted; Can't write down what he wants-has it in his head.
The Chief Justice, the barristers, the solicitors did not want to know about aphasia. It had the potential to prove how wrong and incompetent they were. Their ineptness, was only exceeded by their contempt for battlers who they do not believe will contest or challenge their elitism.
Bruce Whiteside agrees it
could be very exasperating at times trying to understand what Tom wanted. This
was not always the case because he tended to become very agitated when
confronted with detail. He would tense up and the message that was in his brain,
would come out like a mobile phone in a pocket with poor reception. The harder
he tried, the worse it became. 'I managed to overcome this problem by
exercising patience and understanding. I would tell him to take a deep breath
and forget for the moment what he was trying to get out. It did not always work,
so I developed the approach of trying to put myself in his place and second
guess, what he was thinking. If I got it wrong he would wave vigorously, and
vigorously again. Then he would point and wave his finger and smile. After that
the problem subsided and he resumed in his slow and measured speak'.
This was born out when in seeking medical evaluation from the day care centre that Tom through the later efforts of Whiteside attended two days a week, stated that their client suffered from aphasia, caused by the brain over-running the ability to speak, with the resulting often garbled speech. The TIA's caused impairment that prevented what was in the mind from transmitting legible thought into legible speech.
However although those who spent infinitely more time with Tom, ventured honest opinions, it was the all consuming passion of three women and a calculating lawyer who colluded to strip the estate.
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