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Thursday, 25 June 1998
Page: 5494

Mr TONY SMITH (10:37 AM) —Francis Joseph Campbell was registered as a solicitor on 5 March 1974. On 8 July 1987 the statutory committee of the Law Society ordered that Francis Joseph Campbell be struck off the roll for professional misconduct. It found several charges proved against him for basically stealing money from clients and applying it to his own use. It is extraordinary, from the paperwork that I have seen, that no charges were ever laid against Francis Joseph Campbell. He is still at work in my electorate and at the moment, while he is not practising as a solicitor, he uses the fact that he is an ex-solicitor to give him some credibility. He also has the letters `JP' after his name. I have ascertained that he is apparently a justice of the peace, although that may not last for much longer.

I have had numerous stories told to me in my office about the activities of Francis Joseph Campbell. First of all, Mr Stokes, a certified practising accountant, came to see me. He and his wife had the misfortune to get mixed up with Mr Campbell. Mrs Stokes and Mr Campbell were co-owners of a property at Strathpine and Mr Campbell wanted to buy out her share of the property. A contract was then signed but never completed. Meanwhile, as part of the contract, Mr Stokes and his wife vacated the premises. Mr Campbell then used these premises, which he styled the House of Judah—and I will come to some of the reasons behind that shortly—to swindle other people out of their money: in particular, pensioners and people who were suffering a disability. He never completed this contract. The contract fell over. The property, however, in the meantime has been sold by the mortgagee. There is a debt now of $37,000, which will no doubt ultimately come back to Mrs Stokes. But that is only a little bit of a lot of quite shocking behaviour by this particular individual who also uses a connection with the local church to give him some credibility.

I saw Yvonne Hayward and Lenny Byrnes about this individual. Yvonne's father was a fellow who had been in prison for three years. He came out of prison. Campbell knew a man called Kingsford who owned a lawn mowing and gardening business. In or about October-November 1997, Campbell became aware of Kingford's position, through mutual attendance at church; he uses people who are vulnerable. Campbell brought Reeves and Kingsford together—Kingsford was old and fairly sick. He said he would find a buyer for the business. He used this chap who was just out of prison to be the buyer. He worked the deal so that Campbell would organise all of the business through his office. The chap who actually bought the business—the chap who had come out of prison—finished up not getting a cent out of this but actually paying money out for the business.

In the meantime, he met a fellow called Lenny Byrnes, who had had a nervous breakdown. Lenny met Campbell when he was staying at a lodge at Shorncliffe. Lenny had been quite ill, but the manager had known Campbell and brought these two together. Campbell said he was setting up a boarding house, to be styled the House of Judah, and would he be interested in coming in? Lenny was already paying $95 a week for board, which included three meals a day for five days of the week. Campbell said he would do a deal where it would be $90 a week, three meals a day, seven days a week. So Lenny was, as he said, `sucked in'. He came to this place which was formerly the Stokes's place. He told Lenny that this would be a halfway house for people who were down and out; they would get their food, shelter and so forth. Lenny was on a disability pension. Campbell used his wife to get involved. There were actually eight people in this house and he was using this to create an identity and to generate the impression that he was generating income—that is, he had them sign tenancy agreements and then he used that to borrow money.

This fellow needs to be stopped. He is an absolute crook. I call on the Justices of the Peace through the Justice Department to deregister him, and also on the police to investigate this individual. (Time expired)