A year ago I wrote about the fact that Celine Cawley’s brother and sister, on behalf of the her daughter have taken a case against Eamonn Lillis for his part of his wife’s estate. The case was adjourned back in November but it’s back in the news again as it has emerged that the court has agreed to Lillis’s daughter becoming part of the proceedings against her father.
18-year-old Georgia Lillis has said that she wants to address comments of her father’s in his submission fighting the case.
Eamonn Lillis has argued that he should keep his share in the couple’s three houses as he will have nothing when he leaves prison. He has also suggested that his daughter, who has already inherited her mother’s half of the properties, will get his half when he dies in normal succession. He has said that there is still a relationship between him and his daughter.
Once again, it’s impossible not to feel deeply sorry for his young daughter. This is the first time I’ve named her in print. It was legally barred until she reached the age of 18, as the child of someone accused of a serious crime. Once the clock chimes midnight on the eve of her 18th birthday though that protection is removed.
It seems an arbitrary moment to turn a child into an adult but for Georgia Lillis that moment probably came a lot earlier. When all this began. She said, during her father’s trial, that she found it difficult to forgive her father for lying about her mother’s death but during the week he had between verdict and sentence they spent the time at the family home together. It’s hard to comprehend how a relationship can survive such a horrific event but as an only child who can blame her for clinging to the only parent she has left.
That relationship was in the spotlight during the trial. It will be again when the civil case is heard in the new court year. It’s never good when family relationships end up picked over in the courts but when the full glare of the media spotlight is pointed at them what then?
By all accounts Georgia has a lot of support from her mother’s family but this will be the second time she has faced lawyers representing her father in court. She won’t be the first child to face a parent in court and she certainly won’t be the last but it’s something I wouldn’t wish on anyone.
The case has been adjourned till the end of the summer court term but there won’t be any movement on it until after the summer recess. This is a story that will keep running.