Disabled man 'under court protection' evicted

A disabled man who is supposedly being protected by the courts was wandering homeless yesterday after bailiffs used sledge-hammers to evict him from his home.

Lee Gilliland, 42, said that had no warning of their arrival, because a court has ruled that he is not competent to look after himself.

When The Independent tracked him down, he was in a Bristol cattery, trying to arrange a safe home for his four cats, having no idea where he would be spending the night.

His case has been taken up by the campaigning Lib Dem MP, John Hemming, who says that it illustrates serious flaws in the way the legal system deals with people who are judged to be unable to manage their own affairs.

Mr Gilliland has been told that the Official Solicitor is handling his affairs, but claims that no one representing the Official Solicitor warned him that bailiffs from the High Court were coming to evict him.

“They came at about 10 this morning with sledge hammers, and smashed out the windows and doors,” he said. “I was in the back room downstairs pleading with them through a the wall, but they just smashed the door open.

“I had no warning whatsoever. About 20 people just turned up, including police and fire engines with ladders.

“The police want to take me to a shelter for the homeless, but I’m agoraphobic and I have panic attacks and asthma, so I can’t be around other people. I don't know where I'll spend the night. I'm homeless. I'm going to shop near where I lived to see if they'll help me.”

Mr Gilliland’s case follows a series of Court of Protection cases in which judges have been asked to rule on whether individuals have the mental capacity to look after their own interests. Mr Gilliland says that he was never shown the medical report on which his judgement was based.

He added: “They say I lack mental capacity, so everything that has been done has been through the Official Solicitor – but he has never contacted me, because as far as he is concerned, I’m comatose. You can form your own opinion on that.”

The judgement means that Mr Gilliland has been unable to choose a solicitor to represent him in a dispute over his grandmother’s will. He claims that the solicitor appointed for him by the state agreed that he would have to move out of the £100,000 house where he says he has lived most of his life, and that he would settle for half the sale price, the bulk of which is likely to be consumed by legal costs.

Yesterday, Mr Hemming wrote to the Official Solicitor protesting at Mr Gilliland’s treatment.

“His legal rights have been removed from him and now he has been made homeless without any notification that people were about to smash his door down,” Mr Hemming said.

“This case differs from many of the Court of Protection cases only in that you are allowed to report it. Others are covered by secrecy. It shows how badly run the system can be.”

Bristol police confirmed yesterday that they were called to observe while bailiffs carried out a High Court order to take possession of Mr Gilliland’s home. “Our role was purely to prevent a breach of the peace,” a spokesman said.

Mr Gilliland's solicitor was not available for comment yesterday. A spokesman for the Official Solicitor said: "We do not comment on individual cases."

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksAn introduction to the ground rules of British democracy
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
SPONSORED FEATURES
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Senior Environmental Adviser - Maternity Cover

£37040 - £43600 per annum: Recruitment Genius: The UK's export credit agency a...

Recruitment Genius: CBM & Lubrication Technician

£25000 - £27500 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This company provides a compreh...

Recruitment Genius: Care Worker - Residential Emergency Service

£16800 - £19500 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Would you like to join an organ...

Recruitment Genius: Senior Landscaper

£25000 - £28000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: In the last five years this com...

Day In a Page

The long walk west: they fled war in Syria, only to get held up in Hungary – now hundreds of refugees have set off on foot for Austria

They fled war in Syria...

...only to get stuck and sidetracked in Hungary
From The Prisoner to Mad Men, elaborate title sequences are one of the keys to a great TV series

Title sequences: From The Prisoner to Mad Men

Elaborate title sequences are one of the keys to a great TV series. But why does the art form have such a chequered history?
Giorgio Armani Beauty's fabric-inspired foundations: Get back to basics this autumn

Giorgio Armani Beauty's foundations

Sumptuous fabrics meet luscious cosmetics for this elegant look
From stowaways to Operation Stack: Life in a transcontinental lorry cab

Life from the inside of a trucker's cab

From stowaways to Operation Stack, it's a challenging time to be a trucker heading to and from the Continent
Kelis interview: The songwriter and sauce-maker on cooking for Pharrell and crying over potatoes

Kelis interview

The singer and sauce-maker on cooking for Pharrell
Refugee crisis: David Cameron lowered the flag for the dead king of Saudi Arabia - will he do the same honour for little Aylan Kurdi?

Cameron lowered the flag for the dead king of Saudi Arabia...

But will he do the same honour for little Aylan Kurdi, asks Robert Fisk
Our leaders lack courage in this refugee crisis. We are shamed by our European neighbours

Our leaders lack courage in this refugee crisis. We are shamed by our European neighbours

Humanity must be at the heart of politics, says Jeremy Corbyn
Joe Biden's 'tease tour': Could the US Vice-President be testing the water for a presidential run?

Joe Biden's 'tease tour'

Could the US Vice-President be testing the water for a presidential run?
Britain's 24-hour culture: With the 'leisured society' a distant dream we're working longer and less regular hours than ever

Britain's 24-hour culture

With the 'leisured society' a distant dream we're working longer and less regular hours than ever
Diplomacy board game: Treachery is the way to win - which makes it just like the real thing

The addictive nature of Diplomacy

Bullying, betrayal, aggression – it may be just a board game, but the family that plays Diplomacy may never look at each other in the same way again
Lady Chatterley's Lover: Racy underwear for fans of DH Lawrence's equally racy tome

Fashion: Ooh, Lady Chatterley!

Take inspiration from DH Lawrence's racy tome with equally racy underwear
8 best children's clocks

Tick-tock: 8 best children's clocks

Whether you’re teaching them to tell the time or putting the finishing touches to a nursery, there’s a ticker for that
Charlie Austin: Queens Park Rangers striker says ‘If the move is not right, I’m not going’

Charlie Austin: ‘If the move is not right, I’m not going’

After hitting 18 goals in the Premier League last season, the QPR striker was the great non-deal of transfer deadline day. But he says he'd preferred another shot at promotion
Isis profits from destruction of antiquities by selling relics to dealers - and then blowing up the buildings they come from to conceal the evidence of looting

How Isis profits from destruction of antiquities

Robert Fisk on the terrorist group's manipulation of the market to increase the price of artefacts
Labour leadership: Andy Burnham urges Jeremy Corbyn voters to think again in last-minute plea

'If we lose touch we’ll end up with two decades of the Tories'

In an exclusive interview, Andy Burnham urges Jeremy Corbyn voters to think again in last-minute plea