Appeal to free Ross fails

The ladder of law has
no top and no bottom
               - Bob Dylan
               'The Lonesome Death of Hattie Carroll'

At a late hearing in the Court of Appeal on Wednesday, 22 July 2015, Mr Justice Morrison dismissed an appeal to have grievances heard from friends of Ross Taylor. Mr Taylor’s friends were trying to prevent delays in the Queensland Civil Administration Tribunal (QCAT) hearings into the abduction of Ross Taylor from his home at Sunnybank on 16 October 2014. Mr Taylor’s friends challenged the Public Guardian’s decision to remove Ross from his home.

After many delays in QCAT, Ross’s friends took the matter to the court of appeal. It was not the first time they had sought review in the Supreme Court of Queensland. On the previous occasion in 2012 the court sanctioned the transfer of Mr Taylor’s marital home to his former accountant, Mr Suleiman Sabdia. On that occasion the Judge lauded the application by the Public Trustee’s barrister, D. B. Fraser QC for giving ‘meticulous and sage advice’ on the fraudulent transaction transferring Taylor’s home at Sunnybank to his accountant’s family trust account.

The appeal was triggered on 11 June 2015, when Senior Member of QCAT, Ms Claire Endicott’s refused to hear the applicant(s) who wished to challenge any further time wasting by the Public Trustee and Public Guardian regarding a psychologist’s report that recommended Mr Taylor return home to Sunnybank.

Mr Taylor has been locked up in a RSL high facility in Alexandra Headlands for 10 months.

Ross Taylor has consistently asked to return home stating that it is ‘a denial of my human rights’ and asks why ‘am I being punished’ by the Public Guardian.

Independent professional opinion supports Mr Taylor’s claim to live in his own home.

The appeal was based on natural justice that requires a fair hearing. A fair hearing is not possible if there is undue delay. If undue delay jeopardises a fair hearing, then an applicant should be entitled to be heard on whether an extension be granted. This was refused by QCAT.

Failure to give notice to friends of Ross of hearings by QCAT to the applicant is also a denial of natural justice.

So friends of Ross went to the Court of Appeal as of right, based on the common law.

Any other course of action would only result in an appeal from Caesar to Caesar.

So, yesterday in the court of appeal, Mr Justice Morrison did give friends of Ross Taylor a good hearing but ‘black letter law’ prevailed over the common law and rules of natural justice. The law states that you cannot appeal from a decision by QCAT unless the decision is made by a former judge (like Mr Justice Tim Carmody who has recently been demoted on full pay from Chief Justice to being a judicial member of QCAT).

It is very difficult to make the Public Guardian and the Public Trustee accountable when appeals from QCAT are nearly impossible.

According to Justice Morrison, an appellant has to ‘seek leave of QCAT to have an internal review of their decisions‘ (from Caesar to Caesar), and only then, ‘having failed at the internal review, do you have the right to appeal to the Court of Appeal‘.

It means that the lower courts, in reviewing life-determining decisions by the Public Guardian and Public Trustee, decisions are not performed by judicial officers, and, strangely, it is this that makes them not appellable to a higher Court. Accountability goes out the door.

At one point, Justice Morrison made a comparison between Mr Taylor’s circumstances and that of his grandmother who is 97 years old. He told Ross friends to be ‘sanguine’ about his requests to go back home because Mr Morrison’s grandmother makes similar requests. As Auntie June would say, those 14 years make a helluva difference, Mr Morrison! And we presume his granny was not abducted in the daytime by hostile authorities.

You cannot trust the public trusteeMr Taylor and his friends frustrations are summed up in an affidavit by Mr Bernie Neville to the court of appeal:

  1. I am a friend of Carl Ross Taylor (Ross) and that I am not going to disguise my feelings in relation to the treatment that Ross has had to endure at the hands of the Public Trustee. What is needed is some justice for Ross and for the PTO to have those two criminals, Brian Laver and Will Marcus, charged with the crimes they have committed against him.
  2. In an early meeting with Ian Campbell (solicitor for the Public Trustee) he told friends of Ross how Brian Laver had taken by fraud the home of a 81 year old woman and the legal work for the transfer of that property had been carried out by the brother of Brian Laver’s partner Judith Given who just happened to be a solicitor, he also added that they will be one big party when Laver is behind bars. Still waiting.
  3. After a tale like that and a lapse of 6 years why would any of the friends of Ross·trust ·the Public Trustee. We have given the PTO evidence of the theft a of Government Grant, of fraudulent checks (sic), and the only thing that was returned to Ross from Laver was his stolen motor vehicle —- no thanks to the PTO.
  4. The only word that comes to my mind in relation to the office of the PTO is fiduciary and it’s abuse. Ross has had a lot to suffer, everything has been stolen, his money, his house and now his freedom, shame PTO shame.- Signed Bernard Neville, 22 July 2015

It is clear from this that a remedy for Ross and others caught in similar situations does not lie in the legal system. To launch the appeal cost $2,100 and the Public Trustee sought and was awarded costs (yet to be determined). The Public Guardian and the Crown Law Office (for Ms Claire Endicott) did not enforce their costs.

Change must lie in the political process, change to a society that locks up its old people and wastes resources built up over a life-time.

No ‘duty of care’
QCAT has colluded with Public Guardian and Public Trustee since ‘friends of Ross’s’ sought a review of his guardianship in 2014.

Ross Taylor’s lack of rights were summarised by QCAT officer Patrick Gonsalves on 29 May 2015 after yet another request for review. Gonsalves said that ‘things take time’.
At that stage, Ross Taylor had been locked up since October 2014, abducted from his marital home by Centacare acting on orders from the Public Guardian and Public Trustee.
The 2015 review requested by friends of Ross did not get before the QCAT tribunal for three months and since then Mr Taylor has had to wait another 3 years for another pre-determined outcome rejecting his preferred guardian. QCAT will brook no criticism of the existing guardian, Qld Public Guardian. The next review is not for another 5 years. So QCAT has thrown Ross Taylor (aged 85 years) on the scrapheap.
The tribunal has ignored the report given by an independent psychologist. The report was obstructed by the Public Guardian every step of the way. They did not give approval for the psychologist to do the report till 20 March 2015 nearly two months after the QCAT order for an assessment to take place.
And then a month later in 30 April 2015, Ms Clare Endicott (Senior Member, QCAT) gave Lisa Pool (OPG) and Tim Brown (OPG) a further extension to produce an assessment by COB 29 May 2015.
On 29 May 2015, when I asked if Mr Gonsalves (the ‘human rights’ case officer from Dept of Justice) would contact OPG and ask for ‘their part’ of the assessment; that is, the forms that RSLCare were supposed to fill out, he declined stating that it was not yet close-of- business … meaning that the order gave them till 4.45pm this day, Friday 29 May 2015, to comply with the QCAT order.
OPG did not comply.
Each time OPG fails to meet an order, a presiding member of QCAT grants another extension automatically. And this is done in the absence of a major party to the application, Mr Taylor, his friends and my self (as applicant).
In fact, on 29 May 2015 when Patrick Gonsalves and I began speaking, close-of-business was less than a hour away.
The psychologist had given Lisa Pool and Tim Brown (office of public guardian) her part of the assessment earlier in the day.
The case officer, Ms Deanne Steven, from the Public Trustee’s office, had already read the psychologist’s report and its recommendation that Ross should return home.
When asked if QCAT could consider the new material, Mr Gonsalves declined. He told me that it was not yet close-of-business, that the order given on 30 April still had an hour to run.

I saw in Mr Gonsalves hand the file wherein it was recorded that Mr Les Clarkson (QCAT member) claimed Mr Taylor had been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s.

Yet an independent psychologist was saying Mr. Taylor was free of dementia of a deteriorating type and that for a diagnosis of Alzheimer’s there would have to be an MRI or high resolution CAT scan.

Ian Curr
23 July 2015

Caution: There are restrictions on naming a person under legal incapacity. Yet there is a presumption of capacity.

Court of Appeal application by Ian David Curr

One thought on “Appeal to free Ross fails

  1. New QCAT President says:

    SUPREME Court judge Justice Martin Daubney has been appointed as the new President of Queensland Civil and Administrative Tribunal.

    Justice Daubney, 56, who has sat on the Supreme Court bench for 10 years, will begin a three-year appointment from October 16.

    He replaces Justice David Thomas, who resigned as QCAT president in June to become President of the Administrative Appeals Tribunal.

    “QCAT plays an important role in our justice system, as a way to actively resolve disputes in a fair, accessible, quick and inexpensive manner,’’ Attorney-General Yvette D’Ath said.

    Words fail me !!!!

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