Two years ago, I wrote here about Shaun and Ann, who believe they have been cheated out of their home.
Shaun is now 86, Ann, 83. Both are in frail health. They live in constant anxiety that they will pass away without having retrieved the deeds to the home which they would own outright by now if they hadn’t been, as they see it, swindled.
Years ago, one of Shaun and Ann’s daughters, Marion (all the names have been changed), suffered traumatic abandonment at the hands of a despicable lout.
Her confidence shattered, she lost her job and eventually began drinking heavily.
At a certain stage, Marion suggested to her parents that they change their home insurance policy and arranged for an official of a finance company to visit.
A document handed to Shaun and Ann for signature purported to be a certificate to change the policy.
In fact, it was an application in Marion’s name for a loan based on the mortgage on the house: Ann’s name had - without her knowledge - been replaced by her daughter’s on the deeds.
When I spoke to her, Marion, although very unwell, was clear and explicit that the financial adviser had known the exact nature of the transaction about to unfold before arriving at the house and had been in the room throughout as the “insurance” document was discussed and then signed.
Ann’s name is now back on the deeds. But the deeds haven’t been returned to her and Shaun.
They still owe the bank for the loan that Marion took out. Interest charges are piling up. They want that burden lifted. And they want action against the financial adviser and the solicitor.
Marion ebbed away last year, consumed by remorse.
Shaun has contacted every institution he thinks might be helpful. The Law Society says that no case can be brought against the solicitor except through another solicitor. But, presumably for reasons of professional solidarity, none can be found to take the case.
There is no authoritative body to appeal to for redress in the financial services field.
A PSNI investigation has gone nowhere.
Shaun and Ann are left with an immoral debt which they cannot and shouldn’t have to repay. They are at the end of their tether.
George Bernard Shaw once remarked that every profession is “a conspiracy against the people.” That’s unfair. Although, when you ponder the predicament of Shaun and Ann, it’s clear that it is not always unfair.