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Proceeds of Crime Act 2002

Section 14: Postponement

33.Section 14 enables the court to postpone the confiscation proceedings on one or more occasions for up to a total of two years from the defendant’s conviction, or three months from the date on which any appeal against conviction is disposed of, if the three months ends more than two years after the date of conviction. There is no limit to the period of postponement where there are exceptional circumstances. The provision extends the period of postponement permitted under the earlier confiscation legislation, which is normally only up to six months. Where the court does not postpone confiscation proceedings, it must make a confiscation order before it sentences the defendant.

34.Section 14 allows proceedings to be postponed for any reason. This enables a postponement to be made if it is required, for example, because a judge is ill. Under earlier confiscation legislation, a postponement can only be made so that the court can obtain further information about the defendant’s benefit or the realisable property.

35.Section 14(8) is not found in earlier confiscation legislation. It provides that if an application for extension is made before the end of the period of postponement, it does not matter if the court makes a decision on the application after the end of the period of postponement. This deals with the situation where an application is made in time but, because of listing difficulties, the court cannot hear and make a decision on the application before the existing period of postponement expires.

36.Section 14(11) prevents a confiscation order from being quashed, merely because there has been some procedural irregularity in the operation of the postponement procedures. But subsection (12) disapplies the provision if the court imposes a fine or other specified order, and then attempts to make a confiscation order subsequently.

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