The only reason Lovel Brian Dennis, 48, is not sitting in a dank prison cell is because he took a barristers advice and invested in a recording device. It saved him from a possible 6 year prison sentence.
What Dennis describes as a nightmare began in 2009, after he was accused by social workers from Hackney Council of a variety of criminal acts after he made efforts to become primary career of his brother Kenneth Plumber 38, who has Downs Syndrome, after his foster carer could no longer look after him.
In an out of court settlement Dennis was awarded an undisclosed amount on June 6th after he sued Hackney Council for negligence, breach of human rights and misfeasance in public office.
Speaking to Hackney Hive, Lovel Dennis explained how after a discharge meeting with Hackney Social services officials at Goodmayes Hospital, in Redbridge, he was arrested and charged with affray, threat to kill, assault and criminal damage.
One of the social workers accused him of swearing and threatening council officials, during one encounter. He said; ” After that, I was banned from seeing Kenneth for 4 months, but after the ban was up and I was able to see my brother again. I was again accused. This time a social workers said I attacked her, after I threw her against a wall.
In April 2011 Lovel Dennis was found not guilty of all charges at Snaresbrook Crown Court, all because of the secret recordings he made at one of his meetings with Social Services officials. The recordings contradicted the prosecution witnesses testimony, for which Dennis is grateful for. He told Hackney Hive: “Buying the device was the best thing I did, it was the best £50 I ever spent.”
They even made up a fictitious brother and referred to him as ‘Lowell’. In a review of Kenneth’s health while he was with his foster carers, they stated: “One brother, Brian, visits regularly, and Kenny enjoys these visits. However, other members visit more sporadically, which can leave Kenny feeling confused. Additional problems have developed due to the inheritance. There is concern about one brother, ‘Lowell’, who is keen to manage Kenny’s money.” Lovel’s middle name is Brian.
However the Ombudsman who adjudicates complaints of service failure and maladministration causing injustice, upheld Dennis’s claims and ruled that Lovel Dennis; “was the subject of false allegations by his brother’s care manager regarding his behaviour, at a meeting in a hospital.”
The Ombudsman added; “The foster carer has signed a statement confirming that the complainant has never asked or bothered her for his brother’s money, and that she had never given the social worker the impression that he had been behaving in this manner.”
When asked for a reaction to the outcome, Dennis said: “I am relieved it’s over but feel very disappointed. No one should have to go through what I did. I’m disappointed that people in a position of responsibility could do something like this and almost get away with it”.
He added: “Regardless of the compensation, I have to admit I still feel bitter. The money can not change the way I feel”.
“My character was under attack and the past 3 years have been a living nightmare, which left me suffering from stress and anxiety. I came so close to going to prison just because someone lied about me. That is hard to shrug off”.
Dennis told Hackney Hive: “I would like to thank Lee Jasper for his support, emotionally and his good advice”.
A Council spokesperson said: “Hackney Council has apologised to Mr. Dennis and agreed a financial settlement. Improvements have been to the service to prevent something similar happening again.
“Mr Dennis claimed damages in respect of negligence, breach of his human rights and misfeasance in public office. The claim was referred to the borough’s insurers and a settlement reached without admission of liability”.
When asked by Hackney Hive if the employees who made the allegations where still employed by Hackney Council, a spokesperson said: “The member of staff is employed by the Council.”
It is not clear if just one of the employees remains, or all involved in Mr. Dennis’s charges, are still employed by Hackney Adult Care.
What happened to Kenneth Plummer’s Trust Fund?
His fight for justice is far from over, this is just round one. Lovel Dennis still does not have legal custody of his brother. Then there is the question of his brothers trust fund that hasn’t been resolved, due to his litigation against Hackneys Adult Social Care Services.
Dennis claims the false accusations stemmed from when he attempted to gain full responsibility of his brother. When he spoke to Hackney Hive last year, he said: “I began asking about how my brothers money was being managed but wasn’t getting any straight answers. They used the data protection act as an excuse.
“It seems like I hit a wall of silence and I felt people getting nervous and that is when they lied about me. It was a smokescreen to hide the truth.” Mr. Dennis gives an example of £850 that cannot be accounted for. He was told it was given to the then foster carer, who denies ever receiving the amount.
Mr. Dennis hopes he can now pursue custody of his brother and find out the state of his brothers inheritance, that was put in trust, which Adult Care Service has access to, but is being told he will have to pay legal fees as he will not be granted legal aid.