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Proceeds of Crime Act 2002

Section 17: Defendant’s response to statement of information

40.The statement of information procedure is designed to provide a quick and effective method of identifying the extent of the defendant’s benefit, where there is agreement between defendant and prosecutor or Director, and of identifying areas of dispute, where there is not. Where the prosecutor or the Director serves a statement of information on the defendant (as will normally happen), the court may require the defendant to respond separately to every allegation in the statement, and to indicate to what extent each allegation is accepted. Where an allegation is accepted by the defendant, the court may treat the acceptance as conclusive as far as any matters to which it relates are concerned.

41.Where an allegation is disputed, the defendant must provide particulars (i.e. full details) of any matters relied on. The purpose of the procedure is to identify areas of dispute for the confiscation hearing, where evidence may be brought in relation to the disputed points by the prosecutor or Director (as the case may be), or the defendant. Under subsection (3), if the defendant fails to respond to an allegation, the defendant may be treated as having accepted it. Thus, if the defendant fails to respond to a statement of fact, the fact may be deemed to be true. If, for example, the fact in question is that the defendant spent x sum on y date, and the defendant fails to respond to that, that fact is deemed to be true. However, the defendant is not to be treated as accepting any allegation that he has benefited from general or particular criminal conduct because it is not thought appropriate that the defendant’s silence should be conclusive of these matters.

42.Subsection (6) provides that, where the defendant accepts an allegation that he has benefited from conduct, the acceptance is not admissible in any proceedings for an offence. The exemption is intended to encourage defendants to be more forthcoming by preventing the admissions made from being used in a future prosecution against them or anybody else. Defendants might otherwise be reluctant to admit benefit from criminal conduct which has not been the subject of a prosecution.

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