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
News
The guide, since withdrawn, used illustrations and text to help people understand the court process (Getty)
newsMinistry of Justice gets law 'terribly wrong' in its guide to courts
News
Bobbi Kristina Brown with her mother Whitney Houston in 2011
people
News
Starting the day with a three-egg omelette could make people more charitable, according to new research
scienceFeed someone a big omelette, and they may give twice as much, thanks to a compound in the eggs
News
Top Gun actor Val Kilmer lost his small claims court battle in Van Nuys with the landlord of his Malibu mansion to get back his deposit after wallpapering over the kitchen cabinets
people
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksA special investigation by Andy McSmith
News
The actress Geraldine McEwan was perhaps best known for playing Agatha Christie's detective, Miss Marple (Rex)
peopleShe won a Bafta in 1991 for her role in Oranges Are Not The Only Fruit
News
newsPatrick Cockburn was able to update his agenda-setting 'The Rise of Islamic State' while under attack in Baghdad
News
Robert Fraser, aka Groovy Bob
peopleA new show honours Robert Fraser, one of the era's forgotten players
Life and Style
Torsten Sherwood's Noook is a simple construction toy for creating mini-architecture
tech
Sport
David Silva celebrates with Sergio Aguero after equalising against Chelsea
footballChelsea 1 Manchester City 1
News
i100
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

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

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Online Media Sales Trainee

£15000 - £30000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Now our rapidly expanding and A...

Recruitment Genius: Public House Manager / Management Couples

£15000 - £20000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Are you passionate about great ...

Recruitment Genius: Production Planner

£20000 - £30000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This fast growing reinforcing s...

Recruitment Genius: General Factory Operatives

£18000 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This fast growing reinforcing s...

Day In a Page

As in 1942, Germany must show restraint over Greece

As in 1942, Germany must show restraint over Greece

Mussolini tried to warn his ally of the danger of bringing the country to its knees. So should we, says Patrick Cockburn
Britain's widening poverty gap should be causing outrage at the start of the election campaign

The short stroll that should be our walk of shame

Courting the global elite has failed to benefit Britain, as the vast disparity in wealth on display in the capital shows
Homeless Veterans appeal: The rise of the working poor: when having a job cannot prevent poverty

Homeless Veterans appeal

The rise of the working poor: when having a job cannot prevent poverty
Prince Charles the saviour of the nation? A new book highlights concerns about how political he will be when he eventually becomes king

Prince Charles the saviour of the nation?

A new book highlights concerns about how political he will be when he eventually becomes king
How books can defeat Isis: Patrick Cockburn was able to update his agenda-setting 'The Rise of Islamic State' while under attack in Baghdad

How books can defeat Isis

Patrick Cockburn was able to update his agenda-setting 'The Rise of Islamic State' while under attack in Baghdad
Judith Hackitt: The myths of elf 'n' safety

Judith Hackitt: The myths of elf 'n' safety

She may be in charge of minimising our risks of injury, but the chair of the Health and Safety Executive still wants children to be able to hurt themselves
The open loathing between Barack Obama and Benjamin Netanyahu just got worse

The open loathing between Obama and Netanyahu just got worse

The Israeli PM's relationship with the Obama has always been chilly, but going over the President's head on Iran will do him no favours, says Rupert Cornwell
French chefs get 'le huff' as nation slips down global cuisine rankings

French chefs get 'le huff' as nation slips down global cuisine rankings

Fury at British best restaurants survey sees French magazine produce a rival list
Star choreographer Matthew Bourne gives young carers a chance to perform at Sadler's Wells

Young carers to make dance debut

What happened when superstar choreographer Matthew Bourne encouraged 27 teenage carers to think about themselves for once?
Design Council's 70th anniversary: Four of the most intriguing prototypes from Ones to Watch

Design Council's 70th anniversary

Four of the most intriguing prototypes from Ones to Watch
Dame Harriet Walter: The actress on learning what it is to age, plastic surgery, and her unease at being honoured by the establishment

Dame Harriet Walter interview

The actress on learning what it is to age, plastic surgery, and her unease at being honoured by the establishment
Art should not be a slave to the ideas driving it

Art should not be a slave to the ideas driving it

Critics of Tom Stoppard's new play seem to agree that cerebral can never trump character, says DJ Taylor
Bill Granger recipes: Our chef's winter salads will make you feel energised through February

Bill Granger's winter salads

Salads aren't just a bit on the side, says our chef - their crunch, colour and natural goodness are perfect for a midwinter pick-me-up
England vs Wales: Cool head George Ford ready to put out dragon fire

George Ford: Cool head ready to put out dragon fire

No 10’s calmness under pressure will be key for England in Cardiff
Michael Calvin: Time for Old Firm to put aside bigotry and forge new links

Michael Calvin's Last Word

Time for Old Firm to put aside bigotry and forge new links