Currimundi, where neighbours complained about the noise. But the woman argued her condition was involuntary.
Currimundi, where neighbours complained about the noise. But the woman argued her condition was involuntary. John McCutcheon

Woman with 'foghorn' voice gets eviction reprieve

AN ELDERLY woman with a highly unusual medical condition has been saved from looming eviction.

The Currimundi public housing tenant had a condition that made her talk in "a loud penetrating voice like a foghorn,” Queensland Civil and Administrative Tribunal heard.

Several neighbours complained, and the Housing and Public Works department persuaded QCAT to terminate the tenancy on "objectionable behaviour grounds”.

The woman appealed, citing reasons including the involuntary nature of her condition, but QCAT Appeals in early March dismissed that.

Just one day before the housing provider was expected to apply for a warrant letting police enter the woman's home, lawyers went to Queensland Court of Appeal.

Justice Philip McMurdo of the appeal court said the 72-year-old woman had chronic paranoid schizophrenia and post-traumatic stress disorder.

"On her case, at least, her psychiatric disabilities are so severe that they sometimes deprive her of her capacity to control her actions”.

"Although there is not yet an appeal ... the circumstances here are exceptional,” Justice McMurdo added.

He said the woman's "vulnerability” was obvious.

But Justice McMurdo said the woman had been contesting the housing department's efforts for some time.

So she ought to have known she'd likely be ordered to leave the Sunshine Coast unit.

And Justice McMurdo said the woman's conduct, voluntary or not, caused "considerable grief” to neighbours.

He said the situation also caused "particular difficulty for the department, which must not only consider the interests of this tenant, but [also] others for whom it has a statutory responsibility to provide housing.”

However, Justice McMurdo said if the appeal court made no order, then QCAT "would issue a warrant within a very short time”.

And that would lead to the woman's eviction "well before any hearing of her application for leave to appeal, let alone her appeal.”

Anderson Fredericks Turner took up the case and brought in barristers Kylie Hillard and Stephen Keim.

Justice McMurdo's ex tempore order meant that for now, the housing department would not apply for a warrant of possession to be issued for the woman's unit.

A directions hearing in the case is expected next week. -NewsRegional



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