CANADA - SCOTLAND - AUSTRALIA
ROSS ALEXANDER BLENKINSOP v. KIM ROSINA HOLLAND. In Australia, Fred Blenkinsop, husband, and Judith Blenkinsop, wife, had established two discretionary trusts -- "Blenkinsop Family Trust" and "Blenkinsop Family Trust No. 2". Fred, Judith, and their five adult children -- Ross Blenkinsop, Scott Blenkinsop, Kim Holland, and two others -- are the primary beneficiaries of both Trusts. Following Fred Blenkinsop's death in 2004, Judith Blenkinsop and one of her YTBD daughters became directors of both corporate trustees. Judith became the Guardian and Appointor of the Trusts. For the next five years, both Trusts were essentially operated for the benefit of Judith. No real distinction was made between assets of the Trusts and Judith's personal assets.
In 2009, the family began a process to attempt to achieve equality between all family members in both governance of the Trusts and entitlement to assets. As a result, all five adult children were made directors and shareholders of both trustees companies in 2009. Since 2009, there has been escalating hostility between some family members in relation to the trusts and the conduct of other directors (family members). One daughter, Kim R. Holland, even obtained one or more restraining orders against her attorney/brother -- Ross Blenkinsop. In this 2018 appellate opinion, Kim Holland is described as a "62 year old woman who is ... actively involved in the home schooling community. She is a well-educated woman who is of the Jehovah Witness faith." Will an Aussie please let us know if and which other Blenkinsop Family members also are Jehovah's Witnesses, etc.?
IN THE MATTER OF CLARA was a 2019 Australia adult guardianship case involving the 89 year old Jehovah's Witness Mother of former JW daughter, Susan, and JW Son, John, and his JW Wife, Jane, and their JW Daughter, Jill. From 1989 until July 2017, Clara lived in her own home in New South Wales. Clara lived there with her husband until he died in November 2009. Clara owns the property, unencumbered, although it has been rented since July 2017. Susan valued the property at $500,000. John valued it at $420,000. In July 2017, arising from her need for practical support, Clara came to live with Susan and her family who live in a small town in NSW. In July 2018, JW John came to Susan's house to collect Clara in order for her to stay with him and his wife, JW Jane, at his home in Canberra. Susan recalls her mother stating that she was going to spend two weeks with John and Jane, but in any event Clara now lives with them on an indefinite basis. JW John and XJW Susan disagree about the circumstances in which Clara came to live with JW John and JW Jane. Edited excerpts:
SUMMARY: This was a case about a person's capacity to make decisions: to make an enduring power of attorney, to decide how to spend their money, to decide where to live and who to see. ... On 2 October 2018, the Tribunal heard competing applications for appointment of a guardian and manager for the subject person who we will refer to in our reasons for decision as Clara. The need for a guardian or manager appeared, at first, to be unnecessary because Clara had executed an enduring power of attorney in favour of her son who we will refer to in our reasons as John. That was certainly his submission. However, as the evidence unfolded at hearing and over the following months, it became clear to the Tribunal that Clara had no capacity to understand the nature and effect of two enduring powers of attorney that she signed on 28 June 2018, or capacity to manage her money, or capacity to communicate decisions about how and when to see members of her family. Clara, we have concluded, is an elderly person managing dementia as best she can, but caught in a "tug-of-war" between her two children while having no understanding of the issues being fought around her. Clara's decision-making capacity, in our view, extends only to her wish to see her friends and her family, and to live comfortably in a manner that enables her to attend her church. ...
CLOSING REMARKS: At the end of our deliberations, we were left wondering why these applications were brought and so fiercely contested. The ostensible position was a dispute about where Clara should live, but that dispute was out of all proportion to the effort and cost that John and Susan brought to the case. Huge effort went into the question of whether Clara had capacity to make the two 2018 EPOAs. However, there was no suggestion that John or Jill have done or decided anything pursuant to their powers. John's position was always that Clara decided everything for herself, and had (and still has) the capacity to do so. So why the litigation? The answer, we think, lies in Jane's correspondence to Clara (set out at paragraph 43 above) protesting the terms of Clara's Will, in John's request to Mr Hawdon for a copy of the Will, and the haste with which the 2018 EPOAs were executed. We would be very concerned if the dispute about capacity was not so much about capacity to make an enduring power of attorney, but about her capacity to make a new Will and the inheritance of her house on the South Coast.
DIANNE ELIZABETH SHELLEY v. PRAGER was a 2020 New South Wales, Australia Estate/Will ($700,000.00) contest between one daughter written out of the Will of their father and Plaintiff Shelley's three surviving sisters -- Susan Elizabeth Prager (aged 67 years); Yvette Amy Bouzerouata (aged 53 years); and Michelle Leah Warren (aged 46 years) -- and grandson Lachlan Brady, son of deceased daughter, Deneice Julie Watson. William Andrew Watson died on May 12, 2018, aged 90 years. He was survived by his wife Elizabeth Drummond Watson, age 89. "Betty Watson" suffers from dementia and resides in a nursing home. The four sisters were reared as Jehovah's Witnesses, but current status is unknown. Shelley lost. No sympathy from four winners.
IN RE LENKO ESTATE was a 1997 Saskatchewan, Canada WILL CONTEST in which the WatchTower Society of Canada attempted to STEAL more than half of the estate of deceased member Margaret Lenko. Lenko specifically devised her home to her son; then directed that the remaining assets of her estate be divided equally between her surviving son and daughter. Lenko further directed that if both of her children predeceased her, then her estate was to go to the WatchTower Society, as the residual beneficiary. Only Lenko's daughter, Irene Lock, survived Lenko, so Lock was entitled to Lenko's entire estate. The WatchTower Society of Canada asserted that it was entitled to the deceased son's share -- Lenko's home plus half of the remainder of the estate. The Saskatchewan court easily and quickly terminated that claim. This is a perfect example why Jehovah's Witnesses and others who still care about their family members should never name the WatchTower Society as a residual beneficiary in their Wills. Doing so places the named beneficiaries in the possible position of having to either settle with or litigate with the corporate bully.
TRUSTEES v. ALFRED MITCHELL GREENLEES, INTERNATIONAL BIBLE STUDENTS ASSOCIATION ET AL was a 1961 Scotland WILL contest, which reversed yet another FRAUDULENT WILL SCAM perpetrated by Jehovah's Witnesses against the rightful heirs of a mentally infirm, elderly individual.
A Jehovah's Witness named Rachel Black, age 78, of Kilmacolm, died in late 1959, after having suffered from Alzheimers for five or more years. It is not known how long Rachel Black had been a JW, but INTERESTINGLY, Black's next-door neighbors were Jehovah's Witnesses, named Laird. The fact that "Brother Laird" also had died before this case went to trial was most convenient for the IBSA, so that he did not have to testify regarding the SCAM he, his wife, and other Jehovah's Witnesses perpetrated against Rachel Black's heir.
Over the years, Rachel Black had had multiple WILLS and CODICILS prepared by her own attorney. The last WILL prepared by Black's attorney, and retained by him, devised Rachel Black's entire 5000 pound estate to a trust in favor of Black's sister.
However, in December 1958, an UNKNOWN PERSON not uncovered in this lawsuit, typed up a new WILL for Rachel Black, which left Black's entire estate to the INTERNATIONAL BIBLE STUDENTS ASSOCIATION. Famous Scottish Jehovah's Witness, Alfred Mitchell Greenlees (see PROCLAIMERS, page 411), of Glasgow, was named as "Executor" in that WILL. Testimony during the trial from Mary Laird revealed that she and her husband had retained possession of the WILL after it had been signed by Rachel Black.
Opposing testimony asserted that Rachel Black's mental capacity had been declining for five or more years prior to her death. By 1958-59, Rachel Black was suffering falls when she went out in "field service", and on multiple occasions, locals would have to take her home when she was out by herself.
The following particulars of professional misconduct were found to have been established:Complaint D189/93(a) On or about May 21, 1992, the Solicitor misapplied $35,000 more or less from his client Ruth Ramsbottom;(b) On or about June 11, 1992, the Solicitor misapplied $89,131.13 more or less from the estate of Phyllis Winters;(c) In or about August 1991, the Solicitor misapplied $65,000 more or less from the estate of Florence Antoniuk; and(d) In or about September 1991, the Solicitor misappropriated $45,000 from the estate of Margaret Finlay by using these funds to pre-pay his fees on an unrelated matter (WatchTower Society was beneficiary).Complaint D246/93(a) During the period December 18, 1991 to January 19, 1992, the Solicitor misapplied $675,000 more or less from his trust account of funds belonging to his client, Jeannette Steed; and(b) In the period November 4, 1991 to December 30, 1991, the Solicitor transferred $224,745.41 from his trust account to his general account representing fees and disbursements prior to the delivery of a fee billing as required by ... the Law Society Act.Complaint D180/94(a) On or about December 9, 1988, the Solicitor misapplied $30,000.00 more or less, of funds to be held in trust for the benefit of Vera and Michael Giammarco.
Interestingly, the Law Society's Opinion was extremely deferential to FMT. It went out of its way to say that all of these instances of "misapplication" and "misappropriation" lacked criminal intent, and there was no corresponding criminal prosecution. The Law Society even agreed to allow FMT to "resign" rather than be outright disbarred. FMT was disbarred only because he refused to resign.
There were also indications that there were more "incidents" than those handled by the Law Society. Note that the above Complaints seem not to include the "A. F. Danley" incident. Additionally, the Opinion mentions that by October 1997 that FMT was in bankruptcy proceedings due to already having reimbursed affected clients $1,500,000.00, but that he still owed another $1,500,000.00, plus interest. The Lawyer's Professional Indemnity Company had also paid out $85,000.00by the date of this Opinion, and it is believed that that was only about half that it eventually paid out. Now, do the math for the incidents listed in the above Complaints. There seems to be lots more to this story.
Frank Mott-Trille was reportedly "disfellowshipped" at some point after the Law Society proceedings, but we do not know when such happened, nor for what reason. We are not even sure such related to these "incidents".
JEANETTE STEED v. FRANK MOTT-TRILLE was the 1993 civil lawsuit filed by elderly Jehovah's Witness client Jeanette Steed, which was settled with a confidentiality clause in 1995. The Law Society disciplinary committee ruled that FMT had invested $675,000.00 of Steed's divorce settlement funds without Steed's authority. The Opinion characterizes FMT's decision to do such as one that was influenced more by his desire to benefit other FMT clients who had invested in an abortive Holland's Landing real estate project than by a concern for the safety of Steed's investment. FMT loaned Steed's $675,000.00 to a partnership consisting of FMT's cousin and two Jamaican clients of FMT, who invested the money in a real estate project which never materialized. That loan occurred in January 1992, but Steed was not notified until she received her first interest check in June 1996. Steed settled with FMT in 1995 by taking over that over-valued property, and receiving $150,000.00 from FMT's two daughters, and $75,000.00 from FMT's professional liability insurance carrier.
RAYMOND CARLYLE LAYBOURNE and LAYBOURNE ENTERPRISES LTD v. ROY LYNDON LAYBOURNE and SHARON LAYBOURNE was a 2004-07 Canadian civil court case which involved a real estate dispute between a father and his son and daughter-in-law (reported to be Jehovah's Witnesses). In the 1990s, Raymond Laybourne and his son, Roy Laybourne (postal employee), had constructed a home in/near Humboldt, Saskatchewan, on real estate titled in both names jointly. Thereafter, this dispute arose over who was the beneficial owner of the property, and whether the funds advanced by Raymond Laybourne to his son and daughter-in-law were a gift or a loan. At his examination for discovery on September 30, 2004, Ray Laybourne (farmer of 7500 acres) refused to provide Roy and Sharon Laybourne's attorney with a copy of his Will, and refused to answer questions from Roy and Sharon Laybourne's attorney relating to gifts made by him to his other children -- on the grounds that the questions were not relevant to this case. In March 2005, Ray Laybourne was court ordered both to provide them with a copy of his Will, and to answer the questions put to him with regard to gifts and/or advancements to his other children. Final outcome of lawsuit unknown.
See also: SHARON DALE LAYBOURNE v. SOMMERFELD, a 2002 personal injury lawsuit which appears to provide background information regarding this same Humboldt property.
See also: ROY L. LAYBOURNE and SHARON D. LAYBOURNE v. ROYAL CANADIAN MOUNTED POLICE, ATTORNEY GENERAL OF BRITISH COLUMBIA, ET AL (2012-15).
b) wrote to the Trust Administrator on April 11, 2007, requesting that "you immediately amend your records to note that the interest formerly seized by Mr. Sawdon is now held by" the Watch Tower;c) wrote to Wayne Sawdon on May 7, 2007 that the majority shares were transferred inter vivos by Arthur Sawdon.; and
I must warn you that if the CIBC fails to perform the transfer of shares as necessary, I will advise the transferee Watch Tower Society of your refusal. In such case I anticipate that I may be instructed as corporate secretary to commence a legal proceeding to compel the CIBC to act with the legal costs and damages that may be appropriate.
THE CREDIBILITY OF THE WITNESSES
 I accept the evidence of Wayne Sawdon and Gladys Fisher as credible and reliable. The evidence of these witnesses was direct and clear. Ms. Fisher's evidence was unbiased. Both witnesses had no hesitation answering questions fully and completely. Their evidence was consistent with the documents, the agreed facts and other evidence.
 With respect to the evidence of Stephen Sawdon, while I found most of his evidence to be reliable, some answers were biased. Fortunately for the Applicants, the significant portions of his evidence are consistent with the evidence of Wayne Sawdon and the documentation signed by Arthur Sawdon.
 With respect to the evidence of Mr. Pole, I reject it entirely. There are a number of reasons I have concluded his evidence is neither credible nor reliable:
(a) Mr. Pole is a lawyer. I find it surprising and questionable that Mr. Pole would not disclose a conflict or even a potential conflict that he was an "elder" or "lay minister" with the Jehovah's Witness church and had acted for the Jehovah's Witness church prior to the preparation of the 2004 Will or the July 2006 Will or the Transfer and Assignment. Mr. Pole's reason for not doing so, because he wasn't wearing his Jehovah's Witness "hat" at the time is simply not a good answer. Arthur Sawdon and the other shareholders of Sawdon Holdings were entitled to know all of Mr. Pole "hats" when Mr. Pole provided advice or prepared documents for Arthur Sawdon;
(b)Mr. Pole's answers in cross-examination by the Estate Trustee's counsel were combative and he took every opportunity, whether or not relevant or appropriate to the question asked, to give answers favourable to Watch Tower;
(c) Some of Mr. Pole's answers made little sense. For example, Mr. Pole's evidence as to knowing Arthur Sawdon's intention regarding the Joint Bank Accounts after his death make no sense when Mr. Pole didn't know the joint nature of the bank accounts until after Arthur Sawdon's death. Daniel Pole's evidence was inconsistent with his earlier evidence that he had told Arthur Sawdon, if he set up joint accounts without a Declaration of Trust, the monies would go to the joint account holders on his death. Even more inconsistent was that two weeks after Arthur Sawdon signed the July 2006 Will, Arthur Sawdon opened up two new joint accounts with his sons with a right of survivorship. Notwithstanding, Mr. Pole was adamant that it was Arthur Sawdon's intention that the monies in the Joint Bank Accounts were to go to the estate;
(d) Mr. Pole's actions subsequent to the death of Arthur Sawdon are demonstrative of a appearance of bias in favour of the Watch Tower:
i. Mr. Pole advised Arthur Sawdon that the Transfer and Assignment had not been accepted by the Trust Administrator and that the Watch Tower would receive the shares as the residual beneficiary under the July 2006 Will. The Transfer and Assignment apparently was a moot issue. However, upon Arthur Sawdon's death, Mr. Pole's actions in his attempts and threatens to get an immediate transfer of the shares of Sawdon Holdings to the Watch Tower, not as a residual beneficiary but as an inter vivos gift, gives the appearance of bias in favour of the Watch Tower. Mr. Pole's explanation that he did this to avoid estate fees was not a credible explanation;
ii. Despite instructions by Wayne Sawdon, the executor under Arthur Sawdon's July 2006 Will, not to advise the Watch Tower about the Watch Tower's potential entitlement under the Will, Mr. Pole nevertheless communicated the information to the Watch Tower; and
iii. Mr. Pole's attempts to get the Trust Administrator to immediately effect the Transfer and Assignment from Arthur Sawdon to Watch Tower, without authorization from potentially interested parties, are also evidence of apparent bias in favour of the Watch Tower. I reject Mr. Pole's explanations as to his authority to pursue the transfer to the Watch Tower as his explanations are wrong in law and appear to be an effort to justify taking his actions:
Authority under the Charities Accounting Act., as amended --- There was no legal obligation on Mr. Pole, under the Charities Accounting Act to advise the Trust Administrator as no property intended for a charity vested in him;
Authority under the Power of Attorney -- The Power of Attorney, given by Arthur Sawdon, even if relevant, had expired upon the death of Arthur Sawdon; and
As solicitor for or director of Sawdon Holdings -- Mr. Pole had not received any instructions from Sawdon Holdings or its board of directors or its officers to demand the transfer to the Watch Tower. There is no reason that Mr. Pole would have written the letter without the prior knowledge of Wayne Sawdon, the only other director of Sawdon Holdings, a beneficial shareholder of Sawdon Holdings and an officer of Sawdon Holdings. Further, there no reason that Mr. Pole would have made the demands without the prior knowledge and approval of Wayne Sawdon, the executor under the July 2006 Will, a beneficiary under the July 2006 Will and someone who might object to the transfer of the shares to the Watch Tower.
JOHANNE LABERGE v. JEAN YVES BERMOND and MURIELLE CIMINI was a 2015-16 Quebec, Canada civil court WILL contest. According to Canadian press reports, in April 2015, when daughter Johanne LaBerge went to the hospital to take care of matters for her recently deceased Jehovah's Witness Mother, Louise LaBerge, hospital officials told her that they already had turned over the corpse and personal effects to her mother's Jehovah's Witness Minister, Jean Yves Bermond, and his wife, Murielle Cimini. Hospital officials reportedly told Johanne LaBerge that Jean Guy Bermond had told them that the deceased, Louise LaBerge, had no family.
That was not the only surprise. Allegedly, one week prior to the death of Louise LaBerge, she had executed a NEW WILL, which left ALL OF HER ESTATE to Jean Yves Bermond, and his wife, Murielle Cimini. Interestingly, in addition to being one of the Elders at the Gatineau Outaouais Congregation Of Jehovah Witnesses, Jean Guy Bermond was also the TREASURER.
Reportedly, Louise LaBerge had executed a prior WILL in 2008, in which she allegedly had left her entire estate to her only daughter, Johanne LaBerge. Johanne LaBerge filed this civil lawsuit contesting the validity of the 2015 WILL in July 2015. That lawsuit was reportedly settled in 2016. Johanne LaBerge reportedly received money and/or property valued at $300,000.00 . It is not known what Bermond retained from the estate of Louise LeBerge. Even though she was given the empty urn, Jonanne LaBerge also mourned the fact that her mother's remains had been cremated and already scattered by Jean Yves Bermond.
Reportedly, Louise LaBerge had converted to the Jehovah's Witnesses in 1985. Not unusually, at some unknown time, and under unknown circumstances, Louise LaBerge and her daughter had become estranged. Apparently, they had somewhat mended fences at some point prior to the execution of the 2008 WILL. Although Johanne Laberge reportedly had contact with her mother only a few weeks priior to Louise LaBerge's death, noone reported the death of her mother to Johanne LaBerge until an Uncle did so about a week after the death.
In August 2007, Dunn sought medical opinion regarding her fitness to execute a will. The doctor's note indicated that Dunn had four children, and stated she would like to divide her estate equally among those four kids. The doctor's assessment was that she had mild cognitive dysfunction but was capable to execute a will. In January 2008, Dunn indicated to the doctor she was upset and distressed because the plaintiff Daughter was trying to tell her how to make out her will. A diagnosis of anxiety was made. In April 2008, Dunn expressed concern about her son's pressure on her to move into some sort of assisted living facility. In July 2008, Dunn and plaintiff Daughter again sought medical opinion as to Dunn's capacity to execute a will. The doctor concluded that Dunn should be referred for a formal capacity assessment and that she appeared able to participate in decision-making but it was not clear to what extent. An outpatient report, dated November 20, 2008 indicated that Dunn suffered from dementia and that with her lawyer, Allison MacCallum, an effort was being made to set up a personal directive and enduring power of attorney. Dunn wanted her daughter as well as her friend, the defendant, as her agents.
In November 2008, Dunn suffered a fracture to her left foot, and she was admitted to the Grey Nuns Community Hospital for treatment to her foot and investigation regarding the deterioration of her senile dementia condition. Shortly after her admission to the hospital, Dunn executed an Enduring Power of Attorney naming the defendant, Daryl Kiernan, described as her "friend", as well as her daughter, the plaintiff, jointly, as her attorneys. The Power of Attorney was prepared and executed under the supervision of Dunn's attorney.
Think that you know the outcome of this case? The Court ruled in favor of Daryl Kiernan. Here is the court's reasoning, which bears studied reading for any children of elderly JW Parents who find themselves in similar circumstances (This Canadian judge's poor grammar and poor punctuation should not go unconsidered):
There is no question but that Dunn paid $25,000.00 to the defendant for no legal consideration. There is also no question that Dunn had a long-standing and progressive condition of Alzheimer's dementia and was to some extent suffering from diminished capacity. It appears to be trite law that where property or money is transferred without consideration the person receiving the property or money (the "donee") has the obligation of satisfying the court that the person making the transfer (the "donor") had the mental capacity required by law at the time of the transfer. Clearly the court must be satisfied that the donor understood the nature and effect of what was being done, the extent of what was being disposed of, the ability to comprehend and appreciate the claims on the donor to which effect should have been given. The court must be satisfied that there was no disorder of the donor's mind that poisoned affections, perverted a sense of right, or prevented the exercise of natural faculties, and that there was no insane delusion that influenced the disposition. The transfer must not be one which would not have occurred if the donor had been of sound mind.This legal capacity required is the same whether it is in connection with a gift made during one's lifetime or a gift made by way of will and in both cases a sound and disposing mind and memory is required. Too strict a standard would result in elderly people being deprived of the right to dispose of their property. In the case of an alleged gift considerable weight must be given to the interest of other persons, particularly those who have a legitimate interest in the property of the person making the gift. All of the circumstances of the transaction are relevant. Where the value of the gift is comparatively trivial in relation to the donor's other assets the standard may be somewhat relaxed but where the effect is to dispose of a substantial portion of the donor's estate, as in this case, then a higher degree of understanding is required and the donor must understand the extent of all moral claims on the donor's estate and the extent of the property disposed of.In this case there is no suggestion in the evidence that the defendant did anything, other than offer friendship, to cause Dunn to make a gift to him. There is no suggestion that the defendant invited or suggested that he should receive anything from Dunn. In fact I accept the defendant's testimony as having been entirely candid and truthful. This is not a case where there is any suggestion of influence and certainly not undue influence that prompted this gift. Nor was the defendant in a position which would give rise to any presumption of improper influence. I am very conscious that the evidence of the defendant in a case of this kind must be weighed with considerable care.Some courts have gone so far as to hold that the evidence of a donee should not even be taken into account and that the donee must be able to show by separate and independent evidence the intent of the donor to make the gift and the donor's mental capacity. I do not accept that there is any such hard and fast rule. In my view the donee's evidence has to be weighed with scrupulous care and must be considered in the light of all of the circumstances but if accepted can establish both the intent to make a gift and the capacity to do so.
The court is always placed in a difficult position when a case is presented by someone who is not trained in the law and particular care has to be exercised in such circumstances. In this case, clearly the physician who treated and diagnosed the ongoing condition of Dunn from 2004 to 2009 ought to have been called as a witness, as well as the solicitor who prepared the Enduring Power of Attorney in November 2008 and certified that Dunn appeared to understand the nature and effect of the Enduring Power of Attorney. Further, some witnesses, if any were available, ought to have been called who were objective, that is, who had no interest in the outcome of the case. Both the plaintiff and the defendant have clear interests in the decision.
On the evidence I am satisfied that Dunn intended to make a gift to the defendant of the $25,000.00. While Dunn's memory and other cognitive functions were impaired to some extent I cannot find that she was so lacking in capacity that effect should not be given to the decision which I am satisfied she made. Dunn's decision appears capricious to persons adversely affected by it. However, reviewing the progress of her condition I am satisfied on the balance of probabilities that Dunn understood what she was doing, was aware of what property she then had, was well able to appreciate any claims that should be made on it, that she had no disorder or delusions of any kind that affected her decision and that she was of sound and disposing mind and memory. I am satisfied that she had full knowledge and that the gift was voluntary, deliberate, well understood and made with a full appreciation of its effect nature and consequences. Notwithstanding her reply to the plaintiff's questions on learning of the payment, I find the payment was not made to look after Dunn, it was simply made gratuitously.
A number of circumstances appear to me to lend credence to this conclusion. Dunn was described as being fiercely independent, strong willed, and resentful of interference from others, even from well-intentioned offers of assistance. She maintained control over her own affairs, including in financial matters, executing a "springing" Power of Attorney under the guidance of her own solicitor and, apparently, both of the parties to this action, who were named, notably, as joint attorneys, in November, 2008. She was conscious of, and concerned about, her mental condition and its progression for several years. She obtained the bank draft for $25,000.00 in her own name and held it for a week before depositing it in the defendant's bank account. This indicates some degree of contemplation or reflection rather than a sudden precipitous action. I was satisfied that when she became re-acquainted with the defendant, she was a lonely and sad person and that the defendant brought her considerable warmth and happiness. I have no doubt that she enjoyed her rides in the defendant's (Cadillac convertible) automobile on sight-seeing to places like Hawrelak Park and areas around the city and that she enjoyed the defendant's company. She should not be denied the right to be generous and her right to deal with her property should not be interfered with so long as she had mental capacity, a clear intention to make a gift, and the means to give effect to it, which she had and she did. In addition some weight must be given to the certificate of her solicitor given in November, 2008. ...
AUSTRALIA - INTERNATIONAL
JEHOVAH'S WITNESS THIEVES TARGETING ELDERLY IN SWITZERLAND
SWITZERLAND v. UNIDENTIFIED JW COUPLE was a 2015-17 Swiss criminal prosecution. Beginning in 2013, an elderly Jehovah's Witness Widower, who then was in his mid-80s, and in declining health, began to be regularly "looked after" and "helped" by three fellow Jehovah's Witnesses -- an immigrant JW Couple and that JW Wife's mother. JW Husband, now age 32, is Dutch, while JW Wife, now age 30, and her mother are Polish. Those three JWs apparently eventually obtained an apartment in JW Widower's apartment building so that they could be near JW Widower. This seems to indicate that the local Congregation of Jehovah's Witnesses would have been fully aware of the relationship between JW Widower and the three JW Immigrants. The local Swiss JWs may even have been relieved that they themselves did not have to see after JW Widower.
In October 2015, JW Widower required surgery and was hospitalized for one week. JW Widower gave his apartment key to JW Couple so that they could keep an eye on his apartment and access clothing and other personal items for JW Widower. After JW Widower's release from the hospital, JW Widower spent several days recuperating further at JW Couple's apartment. Media reports do not report JW Widower's prognosis at that time, but JW Widower may not have been expected to live, or to live long, because, when JW Widower returned to his own apartment, he discovered that $265,000.00 USD in CASH, $10,000.00 USD in collectible coins, and some jewelry was missing. (We will later get to why JW Widower had $265,000.00 USD in CASH at his apartment.) Interestingly, JW Widower did NOT immediately report the theft to the Police. Probably waiting for the local Body of Elders to decide how to handle the matter, it took two weeks before JW Widower called the Police.
Investigators quickly identified JW Couple as the obvious thieves. However, the three JW Immigrants were prepared. The three JWs produced a recording of JW Widower stating that the cash, coins, and jewelry were being given to them as compensation for their past, present, and future "care" for JW Widower. There was testimony that JW Widower had stated in front of JW Couple and unidentified third parties that JW Couple would also inherit the rest of his estate after his death. JW Widower also hand wrote a Power of Attorney naming JW Wife over his affairs relating to matters of housing, banking, and postal services.
JW Widower later denied making that POA. JW Widower also later denied giving JW Couple his cash, coins, and jewelry. JW Widower also later denied stating that JW Couple would inherit the balance of his estate. Interestingly, JW Couple still were convicted of theft, and even for making an unauthorized recording. JW Couple reportedly were sentenced to a mere two years in prison.
JW Widower died prior to the criminal trial, but not before making a new WILL leaving his estate to parties not identified in media reports. JW Widower allegedly did not have any family, thus it probably can be assumed that his last confidants were Jehovah's Witnesses who made sure that JW Widower named as his beneficiaries the WatchTower Society and/or individual Jehovah's Witnesses. However, how large was JW Widower's estate is yet to be determined.
MORE INTERESTING was what Investigators discovered while attempting to sort out this mess -- including why JW Widower was keeping so much CASH at his apartment. Swiss investigators discovered that JW Widower was himself a "thief". At some point in his past, JW Widower had embezzled several hundred thousand Swiss francs from a deceased Swiss Couple whom had entrusted JW Widower to distribute that undeclared money to their "heirs" after both persons had died. (Can't help but wonder whether that victimized couple also were Jehovah's Witnesses, and where had they obtained that large amount of cash?)
HARELLA CAROLINE JOHNSTON and LEAH DELILAH FELSMAN v. HAREL JOSEPH HERROD, ROBERT MATTHEW HERROD, and RACHEL REBECCA HOLLINGSWORTH was a 2007-12 Supreme Court of Queensland, Australia, civil court case which involved five Jehovah's Witness siblings (all in their 50s) in a dispute over the estate of their father, Harel Robert Herrod, who died in February 1999. In addition to the ranch real estate owned by Deceased, he was also an equal partner along with his two sons in the operation of said ranch. Harel J. Herrod and Rachel Hollingsworth were Co-Executors of the estate. Notably, Harel Herrod and Robert Herrod were both JW ELDERS at their local Kingdom Hall.
In settling the estate, the two JW Elder brothers submitted an accounting to the two plaintiff sisters which indicated that the fair market value of their interests in the ranching partnership was a mere $55,000.00 each, and proposed to buy out those two interests. The sickly Harella Johnston agreed to sell her interest at the indicated $55,000.00 worth, but Leah Felsman refused. In October 1999, Leah, including the sickly Harella, initiated legal proceedings in family court, which was eventually stayed pending the decision in this later civil court proceeding. When the two JW Elder brothers learned of the first lawsuit, they repeatedly threatened to have both Leah and Harella DISFELLOWSHIPPED for having taken both their natural and spiritual brothers to worldly court. The two JW Elders even allegedly vowed that the two sisters would never see a penny from the estate. Although both Leah and Harella were devout Jehovah's Witnesses, they refused to kowtow to their JW Elder brothers. Not only did they proceed with the initial case, but they also filed this lawsuit in 2007. In 2012, the Supreme Court of of Queensland ruled that Leah and Harella had been intentionally defrauded by their siblings. The Court found that the two JW Elder brothers had falsified multiple financial records, and had lied on the witness stand regarding such. The third sister, as Co-Executor, was also found to have breached her fiduciary duty when she turned over insurance proceeds to their mother to which each sister was entitled to a third, plus conspired with the two brothers in their shenanigans. The three defendants appealed this decision and its monetary award. In December 2012, the Court of Appeal ruled in the plaintiffs favor in most regards, except that the monetary award was drastically lowered. The Court of Appeal ruled that instead of their individual share of the ranching operation being worth only $55,000.00, the court ruled that their individual share was valued at $136,267.00. To that was added $8,962.00 from the insurance proceeds, making $145,229.00. The court then added interest of$128,623.00, for a total award of $273,851.00 to each sister.
VICTORIA v. MARIA ANGELINA STALLONE and DOMENIC ANTHONY NATALE was a 2008-11 Australia MURDER-FOR-HIRE criminal prosecution which aptly demonstrates that the fear of being disinherited by an elderly JEHOVAH'S WITNESS PARENT who may devise their estate to the WATCHTOWER SOCIETY, or even make a gift of a significant portion of their assets prior to their death, is a fear shared INTERNATIONALLY by children of Jehovah's Witness Parents -- by both children whom are JWs themselves, and by children whom are themselves not JWs.
In this case, the JW Parent was 82 year-old Dominico Natale, and in September 2006, the oldest two of his four children, Domenic A. Natale, age 46, and Maria A. Stallone, age 44, attempted to hire a "hit man" to kill their JW Father, although the "hitman" turned out to be an undercover police officer. Siblings, Desapina Dimovski, age 40, and Franka Biasizzo, age 39, allegedly were told of the plot, but did not participate, although Maria spent the day of the "hit" with one of those sisters in order to establish an alibi for herself. Arrested in September 2006, the brother and sister cut a deal with the Prosecutor in September 2008 to plead"Guilty" to "incitement to murder". Each defendant was ultimately given the typically Australian light sentence of 9 years in prison, with a 6 year non-parole period. On appeal to the Supreme Court of Victoria, the panel of Judges cut the sentence to even a lessor prison term -- 7/4, holding that the trial court judge had not given sufficient weight to ALL the circumstances -- BOTH past and present. What were those circumstances?
Although widely reported by the Australia media, few if any of the media articles about this case captured the real essence of what had occurred. "I accept that your father was not in any way a good, kind or caring father to either you or your siblings. Nor a good kind or caring husband to your mother. ... The family home was not a pleasant environment and it is said that your father beat your mother regularly and also the children of the marriage prior to his leaving the family home. He disputed paternity of all four children, was exceedingly jealous of his wife and was clearly a difficult, irascible man who appeared to have no great love for either his children or his wife. ... Your father's behaviour towards you as his children was reprehensible", stated the mostly unsympathetic female trial court Judge to the two defendants, whose own marriages and adult lives had unsurprisingly mirrored that of their despised JW Father.
In 1962, Dominico Natale and his pregnant Wife had immigrated to Australia from Italy. In 1965, Dominico Natale and Wife had purchased the family's home in North Fitzroy. In 1974, a second house was purchased in Preston. In 1984, Dominico Natale returned to Italy -- by himself. In 1990, Dominico Natale returned to Australia, and moved back in with his Wife. INTERESTINGLY, shortly thereafter, his Wife developed a brain tumor. After her surgery, Wife was in a coma for months. After coming out of the coma, Wife was bedridden and eventually lost her ability to speak. Dominico Natale refused to do anything to care for his invalid Wife -- leaving those duties to the four adult children. In November 2003, Dominico Natale had unknown type surgery, and immediately thereafter went to live with a niece named Maria Antoinetta Ferraro, and her daughter, who lived in Hillside (fellow JWs as well as relatives???), and whom Dominico Natale's four children alleged were unduly influencing Dominico Natale's financial decisions.
DOMINICO NATALE v. FOUR CHILDREN. In December 2004, Dominico Natale began to demand that the divorced Maria Stallone move out of the Preston property, where she had been living since 1990. In May 2005, Wife-Mother died intestate, and litigation over her estate ensued between Dominico Natale and his four estranged children. In July 2006, that litigation was settled by consent with Dominico Natale receiving the Preston property entirely, and the four children jointly receiving half interest in the North Fitzroy property, along with their Father's half interest. (Media reports valued both properties combined as worth $800,000.00 AUD in 2006.)
The Preston property was scheduled to be sold in September 2006 by Dominico Natale in order to have money to pay the outstanding balance on Maria Stallone and her ex-husband's farm property which had been foreclosed and sold, and on which Dominico Natale (surprisingly and generously) had given the Preston property as collateral. The North Fitzroy property was also scheduled to be sold in October 2006 in order to settle up the partnership between Dominico Natale and his estranged children.
The MURDER-FOR-HIRE plot was hatched supposedly to stop the sale of the family home in North Fitzroy, and supposedly to stop Dominico Natale from giving or devising the remaining proceeds from the sale of the Preston property, and his other assets, to either Maria Antoinetta Ferraro, or to Ferraro's daughter, or to the WATCHTOWER SOCIETY OF AUSTRALIA.
SALAS v. MAFNAS was an extremely interesting 2007-10 Supreme Court of the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands case for which many questions remain unanswered -- thus the direct link for those readers who wish to research this case. First, this lawsuit resulted from an extremely QUICKand extremely LARGE insurance settlement, which itself resulted from a "hotel swimming pool accident", where typically, the actual "liability" of the Hotel is often highly questionable.
On NOVEMBER 10, 2001, Joaquin C. Mafnas suffered a severe spinal cord injury in the swimming pool of the Mariana Resort Hotel, which left Joaquin Mafnas a quadraplegic, and resulted in his death in February 2003. TWO DAYS after the accident, Joaquin Mafnas somehow executed a "general power of attorney", which authorized his brother Ramon C. Mafnas, an influential Island businessman and politician (but NOT an attorney), to act as Joaquin's"attorney-in-fact". By only JANUARY 28, 2002, the Mafnas family and the local Hotel and its Insurance Companies had signed a settlement agreement totaling $4,442,443.00.
This lawsuit was brought by the Guardian ad Litem of Joaquin Mafnas's two surviving minor sons, and it contested a $650,000.00 "gift" made to Ramon Mafnas by Joaquin Mafnas out of the settlement proceeds, as well as approximately $150,000.00 in multiple gifts also made by Ramon Mafnas out of settlement proceeds. The very first of those "gifts" was a $30,000.00 donation to "Jehovah's Witness Congregation". Both the trial and appellate courts ruled in Ramon Mafnas's favor, and the Administrator of the Supreme Court of the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands even issued a Press Release regarding the decision, which I find to have less than an impartial tone. Can someone please let us know which parties, or other actors, as well as which "witnesses", in this lawsuit are affiliated with the JWs?
Notwithstanding the decision of the court to restrict publicity and the agreement between [JW Female] and [JW Male] and the local authority, [JW Female] arranged a protest or demonstration outside Ilford Town Hall on March 2014 to which she took G. This action was so obviously contrary to G's well-being that members of the public became concerned for her physical welfare, particularly that she was cold and that her general health would be compromised by being outside for so long. It is a matter of fact that she was being made a spectacle of; as she was the focus of [JW Female's] very public complaint. [JW Female] had placed a scarf over her own face and over G's [face] in what seems to have been an attempt to circumvent the reporting restrictions I had put in place to protect G's privacy as an old, vulnerable lady. A passer by, by chance a police-officer, felt it necessary to intervene. The court has now had the opportunity to hear his evidence. An ambulance was called to assist G.
GUESS WHICH PARTIES THE LIBERAL BRITISH MEDIA "CHAMPIONED" AND WHICH PARTIES THE LIBERAL BRITISH MEDIA VILIFED WHILE ALL THIS MESS WAS ONGOING!!! Readers are invited to read the multiple articles published by the Daily Mail and other British rags during the months of court proceedings in which officials from the Borough of Redbridge are portrayed as villains and the Jehovah's Witness Illegal Immigrants are portrayed as heros. The same bunch of British rags are currently (Fall 2014) doing the exact same thing with another British JW Couple in the news.