A former beach concessionaire broke down in tears as she learned that she had been found not guilty of hiding and laundering drugs money by the Royal Court.
The trial of Joanne Jones (49), who used to run a deckchair hire business in St. Brelade's Bay, lasted almost two weeks and has resulted in Miss Jones being acquitted of the four charges of laundering criminal cash.
Miss Jones has so far spent 14 months in jail since she was arrested at the St. Brelade's Bay Hotel in September last year, but she has now been released on bail.
Miss Jones was accused of concealing drugs money by transferring it into accounts in the UK, investing it in property in Wales and buying up six investment bonds worth almost £300,000 – charges which she has now been cleared of.
Pictured: Joanne Jones's trial was heard in the Royal Court and has reached the verdict that the Welsh national is not guilty of laundering criminal cash.
Throughout the trial, Miss Jones denied all of the allegations made against her and now the Court has ruled in her favour.
Summing up his case, Defence Advocate Michael Haines argued that the prosecution did not have any evidence to suggest that Miss Jones's money was tainted. Addressing the Court, he said: "Zero evidence and zero evidence is still zero evidence." Advocate Haines said that Miss Jones's increasing wealth saw a "gradual increase in wealth from savings and bank interest."
The trial heard evidence and testimony on both sides of the case, including from Miss Jones herself who was on the stand for two days straight where she defended her record and insisted she had earned her money through hard work. They also heard how £80,000 of cash had been found in her attic.
Pictured: Joanne Jones told the Court of all the jobs she had worked in her life to amass assets worth over £1million, including selling fish, working for a hire car company and running deckchair concessions in St. Brelade's Bay.
Despite the testimony of prosecution witnesses including Police officers, a convicted drugs dealer, the property solicitor who helped Miss Jones buy a flat in Jersey, and an accountant tasked with analysing her accounts, the Crown did not convince the Court that Miss Jones was hiding and laundering the proceeds of drugs trafficking.
Prior to the Jurats coming to a verdict, Crown Advocate David Hopwood condemned Miss Jones's testimony as "what is traditionally described as a 'pack of lies'" and said that her various cash business ventures were fronts for her drugs trafficking.
Jurats Pitman and Ramsden, who heard Miss Jones's case, retired for two hours before coming to their verdict of not guilty on all four of the charges.
Miss Jones has been released on bail until a hearing at the end of January relating to other charges she has already pleaded guilty to.
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