Rathfriland couple's assets unfrozen at High Court

THE Assets Recovery Agency has been forced into a major U-turn over its decision to freeze the assets of a serving police officer and her husband.

Last week the Agency sought approval from the High Court in Belfast to discharge assets in the possession of Rathfriland couple Samuel Robert and Joanne Marion McKee, a PSNI constable, from a property freezing order.

At the time of obtaining the freezing order Agency chief Alan McQuillan said the action proved no-one was beyond their reach.

He said: “We are sending out a clear message to those involved in illicit oil trading and all other forms of criminality that whoever they are and wherever they operate all their assets are now at risk.”

But following further investigations into the case the Agency was forced to conclude that no further action should be taken against the assets of Mr and Mrs McKee.

On reaching this conclusion the Agency immediately brought this application before the High Court seeking its consent to discharge the order in relation to the property held by Mr and Mrs McKee.

A third man, Patrick Paul Carr, also from Rathfriland, had his assets frozen at the same time. The freezing order remains in place in relation to Carr’s assets.

Horses, a lease on a petrol station, a sports shop, homes, property worth 750,00 and a fleet of cars were all originally frozen as part of the investigation against the three people.