Police evict lottery winner from home

BEN HEATHER
Last updated 05:00 22/12/2012

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A Paraparaumu lottery winner has been evicted from his home in a bitter dispute with his ex-partner over the winnings.

Malcolm Rabson was forcibly removed by police from the property, which is now owned by a family trust, on Thursday after disregarding a High Court judgment ordering him to leave.

Mr Rabson said lawyers, accompanied by a locksmith, entered the home and were followed by police after he refused to leave. "The police said if you don't get out now we have a wagon coming and we will arrest you."

All his possessions, including his legal files, were put in storage, which Mr Rabson claims he has been unable to access.

"I am still wearing the clothes I had on when I left the property yesterday morning."

He described the decision to remove him from the house as "absolutely outrageous".

He applied for a stay of the eviction order but that was dismissed by the Court of Appeal yesterday.

The Paraparaumu property is caught up in long-running legal dispute between Mr Rabson and his former partner, Linda Gallagher, over his $1.3 million lottery win. Mr Rabson has argued Ms Gallagher has no right to the money, because the ticket was bought on behalf of a trust established before their relationship began. But his argument has been repeatedly rejected by the courts, with one judge describing his claims as "inherently unlikely".

Last year, the Court of Appeal ruled Mr Rabson must pay Ms Gallagher $300,000 in capital gains from three properties bought with the ticket, as well as half the winnings.

The Paraparaumu property was subsequently placed into a family trust and Mr Rabson was legally required to either leave or buy it back.

When he did not buy the property but refused to leave, the family trust - administered by court-appointed lawyer Wayne Chapman - asked the court to force him out.

Mr Rabson claims he tried to buy the property and blames Mr Chapman for not following up on the offer. He said he now accepted Ms Gallagher was entitled to half the winnings but he was still waiting on the family trust to pay out his share.

"I have not received a dime."

Yesterday, Mr Chapman said he did not deny Mr Rabson access to his possessions but confirmed police had been involved in the eviction.

Mr Chapman declined to comment further, describing it as a private matter.

Ms Gallagher did not respond to requests for comment before publication yesterday.

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- The Dominion Post

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