Civil recovery following acquittal of a serious robbery

Mr A had been prosecuted as an alleged member of an armed gang of masked men which had robbed a Post Office depot. He had been acquitted, but he had been found to be in possession of a large amount of cash when his home was searched. The cash had been seized by the police. Further investigation revealed that, although he was living on social security benefits, he and his wife owned several properties in the UK and overseas. It also appeared that he held bank and building society deposits in false names. Mr and Mrs A were made subject to civil recovery proceedings under Part 5 Proceeds of Crime Act 2002 in respect of the properties and the bank and building society accounts. Mr and Mrs A asserted that the bank and building society accounts were not theirs, and made no claim to them. However they claimed the properties had been purchased with the profits of a legitimate business operated overseas. I was instructed, on behalf of Mr and Mrs A, to prepare a report dealing with the provenance of the funds used to purchase the properties, bearing in mind the statutory provisions relating to civil recovery. Ultimately a compromise settlement was reached.