We first saw the issue of proportionality gain prominence in the case of R v Waya  UKSC 51, when it was held that a confiscation order could not be made if it was deemed to be ‘disproportionate’ (a word which many would argue summed up the Proceeds of Crime Act 2002 (“POCA”) perfectly). Last […]
The recent Court of Appeal judgment in R v Mahmood  EWCA 325 provides important guidance on several important issues which often arise in criminal confiscation proceedings before the Crown Court. These proceedings occur where a defendant has been convicted of an offence and his/her criminal conduct enabled them to obtain a financial benefit. The Proceeds of Crime Act 2002 (POCA) requires a Crown Court to consider whether a confiscation order should be made in order to compel that defendant to repay this benefit. These proceedings are supposedly about restitution and not, in contrast to a fine, meant to be punitive. Broadly, POCA requires a judge to determine the value of the illicit benefit and then fix the amount of the order by reference to the value of the defendant’s then wealth, their ability to pay. Or as POCA puts it, their “available amount”.
Corker Binning partner, David Corker has written an article for HLE on confiscation proceedings, with reference to the recent Court of Appeal judgment in R v Mahmood.
The judgment of the Court of Appeal in R v Druce ( EWCA 40) delivered on 31st January is a stark lesson in how confiscation proceedings can go badly wrong for an ill-prepared defendant.
Last week 25 Bedford Row hosted a seminar focusing on ‘Post Conviction in Serious Fraud Cases’. Paul Hynes QC presented his thoughts on the latest developments in money laundering and the hard-hitting effect that the addition of such a charge has on sentencing, and then Geoffrey Payne considered the recent key cases in confiscation.
One of the interesting issues thrown up by the Julian Assange case concerns the fate of those of his supporters who staked their money on him obeying a UK court ruling that he must face trial in Stockholm. These supporters can be divided into two groups: those who deposited money with the court as a bail security – four individuals who collectively paid in £200k; and nine other individuals who agreed to act as sureties on the understanding that they would forfeit a defined amount of money if Assange were to breach his bail conditions – their pledges totalled £140k.
On Tuesday last week the CPS released details of 143 criminals who have failed to pay monies owed under Confiscation Orders, orders aimed at depriving a convicted person of the spoils of their crime. The headline on the front page of the Evening Standard read: “Exposed: Crooks who owe Britain £600 million” and the article went on to detail the names of the top 10 “Mr Bigs” together with photos of their glamorous homes and luxury cars.