Belfast Telegraph

Mother accused of link to £800,000 drugs denied bail

By Alan Erwin

A Co Tyrone mother allegedly linked to the supply of £800,000 worth of drugs almost a decade ago must remain in custody, a High Court judge ruled.

Joanne Quinn was refused bail amid claims she moved to the Republic of Ireland and then Wales following the seizure of financial accounts from her home in 2005.

The 43-year-old was arrested last week after police recognised her while serving unrelated documents on her daughter, a prosecutor said.

Quinn faces a total of 16 charges of being concerned in the supply of Class A or Class B drugs, namely cocaine, cannabis or amphetamines.

All of the alleged offences relate to an incident at Bellavale Terrace, Coalisland, in May 2005.

Mr Justice Weir was told police searched her home and seized notebooks which appeared to show the accounts from approximately £800,000 worth of drug dealing.

Quinn was said to have admitted the books belonged to her and contained her writing but refused to make any further comment.

Although she was released and reported for prosecution, the court heard she went to the Republic in 2006. Prosecution counsel said numerous attempts were made to find out when she would return.

At one stage police found out she was due to be at Omagh courthouse for a compensation claim and planned to make an arrest.

When that case ended earlier than expected officers allegedly arranged for her husband to bring her to the local police station the next day.

Quinn never turned up.

With an arrest warrant and extradition proceedings launched, in 2010 police discovered she had been involved in a driving incident in Wales.

Efforts to locate her there proved unsuccessful, and it was claimed that she later returned to the Republic.

In 2012 police found out she had rented a house in Armagh and tried to serve court papers on her son.

It was alleged that he refused to contact her and threw the documents away.

Finally, Quinn was recognised and arrested as police dealt with a separate issue involving her daughter on September 17, the court heard.

Defence counsel argued that the accused, with an address at Plaiters Hill, Armagh, had been living there for months.

He insisted that his client was never formally charged after the seizures were made back in 2005.

The judge pointed out that police had been looking for Quinn from 2006 to 2014.

But the barrister replied: "It's her case that she had no knowledge of these proceedings and she had been in and out the country several times."

Dealing with the alleged offences, he stressed that only two notebooks containing alleged drug supply lists were recovered from the house.

"No drugs were seized from the property and this lady previously had a good character," he added.

Refusing her application to be released from custody, Mr Justice Weir ruled: "There's a well-developed concern if admitted to bail she wouldn't answer to it."

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