"Officers will apply the principles of natural justice and good administrative decision-making processes. As far as is possible in the circumstances, officers will consult with family members and other relevant people or organisations and gather relevant documentary evidence pertaining to the allegation." -- Public Guardian
On Thursday 16 October 2104 at 10 am I arrived at the Sunnybank home of my friend, Mr Ross Xxxx, an elderly gentleman. I had told Mr Xxxx through other friends (Bernie and Rosslyn) to expect me. The front gate was not properly locked; I found his two dogs (Harry and Phoebe) waiting behind the glass doors. I could see Mr Xxxx’s hat hanging up on the hat stand. Mr Xxxx never leaves home without his hat. I went to the nearby Sunnybank plaza looking for Ross Xxxx.
I asked people at the shopping centre who knew him if they had seen him. I returned to the house and rang Bernie.
I checked the doors to the house. They were locked as were the windows. Mr Neville and I discussed where Ross could be. Later that night I received a call from Bernie saying that Ross had still not returned home.
He told me that Rosslyn, his carer, had come home from work and Ross was not there. This concerned me because of the way Ross had been treated by the public trustee acting against his own clients interests in matters of fraudsters, Brian Laver and Will Marcus who had taken advantage of Ross. Whoever took Ross had left his two dogs at the glass front door. They had not locked the front gate properly.
CONDUCT OF Office of Public Guardian
Below are contemporaneous notes of my visit to the OPG on Friday 17 October 2014:
At 3pm on Friday 17 October 2014 I made a visit to the Office of the Public Guardian at Brisbane magistrates court (level 3 ) 363 George St Brisbane. On arrival at the Office of Public Guardian (OPG) I signed the register and spoke to the receptionist and asked to speak to the public guardian about Ross Xxxx’s whereabouts.
After several minutes wait, the receptionist returned saying that I should go to OPG’s South Brisbane office and gave me an address on a post-it note. I said I wish to make a complaint, that all I wanted to find out is where Ross Xxxx is.
After another delay I spoke with the complaints officer (Megan) who told me that the regional manager was dealing with the matter and was with the public trustee and could not be contacted.
I said I was not leaving without finding out where Ross Xxxx is and to make sure he is alright. I gave Complaints officer, Megan, my details and told her that I had tried to contact Kevin Martin (OPG) and Kelly (OPG) earlier in the day but had received no response, only voice messages. I told Megan I had made a written request to find out where Ross Xxxx is. Megan asked me if a person was living in Ross’s house.
I said that I was not going to be cross-examined. Megan told me that she would not help me unless I answered her questions. I told her my contact details. The complaints officer left.
At 3.20 I rang the Public Trustee, Mark Crofton, and left a message. The Public Trustee is responsible for Ross Xxxx’s financial affairs. I then rang a solicitor to ask for his advice. He said that I should try to persuade them to tell me where Ross is and failing that to make an urgent application to QCAT.
At about 3.40pm a man came to the counter and said that the regional manager Therese Craig would ring me on Monday. He did not identify himself so I asked his name. He said that he was Brian Norman, the office manager, and that he could make no further comment.
I said that I did not understand – all I wanted to know was where Ross is and if he was all right. Brian Norman told me that Ross is alive and well. I said that I am Ross’s friend and wished to find out for myself; that I had visited Ross on Thursday and found that he was not at home.
I told him that Ross was expecting me and I was concerned that he might be upset. Brian Norman said that he could not help me. I said that I did not understand and left. At 4pm I received a call from the Public Trustee’s office (Clinton Myles) who told me that he had been instructed by Mark Crofton to give me a call and let me know who was dealing with the matter. He told me that Ian Spalding (OPG) was handling Ross’s case and gave me his phone number. At 4:16pm I rang Ian Spalding and received a voice message.
I left a message. Soon after I rang Tim Brown (OPG) and received a voice message. I left another message. None of the OPG staff ever responded to my messages of concern either by phone or in writing. On Monday 20 October 2014 at about 10 am, I attended the Office of Public Guardian with another of Ross’s friends, Bernie. I asked to speak with Ms Therese Craig. I waited for some time. While waiting I attempted to ring Ms Craig without any luck. Finally I received a call from Ms Craig and placed the call on speakerphone so that Ms Craig could converse with Bernie who is Ross’s main point of contact. Ms Craig told me Ross’s whereabouts and that he was permitted visitors but was not permitted to leave the facility.
After a long period I was informed Mr Xxxx was being held at the RSL Care facility. Reasons were not given. Later I received an email from Lisa Pool OPG which said that Ross had been taken to RSL Care to better look after his needs. The email said that Ross was high care and that is why he was transferred to the dementia facility at Alexandra Headlands. So I made complaints in person and in writing to the Public Guardian Officers, Tim Brown and Therese Craig.
Tim Brown refused to give reasons for their actions and refused to tell me when I could expect a written response to my complaint and my concerns. Therese Craig said that they would respond to my concerns by 31 October 2014. Ms Craig did not honour her promise.
It is now seven months on and Ross is still locked up in the RSL facility over 100 kilometres from his friends and support.
Justice denied a second time
On 19 May 2015 I rang Patrick Gonzalves, Deputy Registrar QCAT and raised yet again objection to the forced removal of Carl Ross Xxxx by the Public Guardian from his home at 433 Mains Road Sunnybank on 24 October 2014. I had repeated my objections before 3 hearings of the tribunal, the last being on 30 January 2015. This is what I have to say to the deputy registrar of QCAT, Patrick Gonzalves:
You advised me on the evening of 19 May 2015 at 5pm that the Public Guardian provided a report dated 27 April 2015 to the tribunal. You said that you did not have the report in your possession and could not tell me of its contents because it was being considered by the tribunal. You informed me that the tribunal had no obligation to give me notice of it or that the tribunal was considering it.
I have received no information from the Public Guardian regarding the report dated 27 April 2015.
Why has the tribunal failed to advise me that it is considering a report?
Rules of natural justice demand that a party to an action be informed of decisions by the tribunal.
I have not been consulted as to the content of any report nor as to any actions taken by them to review the Ross Xxxx’s abduction from his house.
The Public Guardian has failed to consult with me or any other friends of Carl Ross Xxxx in this matter as to the nature or content of their report.
Neither the Public Guardian nor QCAT have learnt anything about rules of natural justice, they ignore them.
I complained to the Queensland Ombudsman about the conduct of the Public Guardian. The Ombudsman’s reply: APPEAL to the Office of Public Guardian (sic). THERE is no justice in an Appeal from Caesar to Caesar
Please Note: Publishing the name of ‘an adult’ under a QCAT order may be a contempt of court. Clare Endicott (QCAT) threatened Friends of Ross with contempt. Ms Endicott does not make such threats to Premiers, Attorney Generals, Ombudsmen, Public Trustees or Guardians who have stripped Ross of freedom and dignity. The Guardianship Act says ‘An adult’s right to confidentiality of information about the adult must be recognised and taken into account.’ Fair enough, but when injustice is done, Ross and his friends have a right to resist!