Tuesday 20 March 2018

Judge refuses to grant CAB a freezing order on assets of suspected drug dealer

A JUDGE today refused to grant the Criminal Assets Bureau (CAB) a freezing order on five bank accounts and nine properties held by the widow of a suspected drug dealer.

CAB had claimed that the properties and accounts - owned by Patrick Farrell (49) - represented the proceeds of crime.

Farrell's naked body was found on a bed close to the body of his girlfriend Lorraine Farrell (29) on September 10, 1997, in Boyle O'Reilly Terrace.

Gardai believe Ms Farrell shot him and then turned a double barrel shotgun on herself..

Yesterday, the High Court's Mr Justice Kevin Feeney, in refusing the CAB application, said the court did not have sufficient evidence that the assets represent the proceeds of crime committed within this State.

It had not been established, he said, on the balance of probabilities that money laundering has been established.

CAB had sought orders for the freezing of certain bank accounts and preventing Farrell's widow Ann disposing of the property or assets. CAB also wanted a receiver appointed over the nine properties and five bank accounts.

In the CAB proceedings, it was claimed Mr Farrell's widow Ann was now in control of most of the property which is in Monaghan, Louth and Tipperary and that she allegedly received rental income from an apartment in The Sweepstakes complex, Ballsbridge, Dublin.

Mr Justice Kevin Feeney said this was a case where CAB sought to apply the Proceeds of Crime Act not to the person alleged to have been involved in crimes but to defendants who are in possession or control of the property funded from such crimes.

In this case, he said the person alleged to have been involved in criminal activities was murdered in 1997 and the properties were acquired in the 70s and 80s.

The court had to decide whether it was unjust to require Mrs Farrell to deal with the provenance of funds which applied so long ago.

No allegation the judge said had been made against Mrs Farrell in relation to any criminal activity.

The judge said he would not admit the hearsay or belief evidence from gardai in relation to the generation of the proceeds of crime by the late Patrick Farrell and the court was not satisfied that there were reasonable grounds established in evidence for the belief.

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