WHAT IS PROCEEDS OF CRIME?

The Proceeds of Crime Act 2002 creates a single model for Confiscation following conviction in criminal cases. The Act came into force on the 24th March, 2003. The Act is severe. It penalises Defendants for criminal conduct which is in fact unproven. It can make assumptions of fact and reverse the burden so it falls upon the Defendant, in effect, to prove otherwise.

As a result of this Act, the Crown Court is the Court where confiscation proceedings under the Act take place. The Act creates a single, unified system for confiscation following a criminal conviction. If the Prosecution apply for a hearing, then an enquiry into the matter is mandatory i.e. compulsory. It also introduces the concept of “criminal lifestyle.” Which triggers an unlimited review of the proceeds of the Defendant’s “general criminal conduct.”

The term “confiscation order” is in fact rather misleading. The Court do not confiscate property but rather, they require the Defendant to pay over a sum of money. This sum is referred to as the “recoverable amount.” This will either be the full amount of what the court has found to be his “benefit” from his “criminal conduct” or the value of all the Defendant’s remaining assets, referred to as the “available amount,” if that can be proven to be less.

An Order may be made only in the Crown court against anyone convicted of an indictable offence or committed by the Magistrates.

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