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Proceeds of Crime Act 2002


Sections 169-171: Reconsideration

234.Sections 169-171 reproduce, with some changes, provision in the current legislation in Northern Ireland found at Articles 17 to 20 of the Proceeds of Crime (Northern Ireland) Order 1996. The sections enable a confiscation order to be made where none was made in the original proceedings, and a confiscation order, once made, to be increased.

235.Currently Article 20 of the 1996 Order allows a court, when reconsidering the benefit obtained by a defendant, to apply similar assumptions to those that appear in section 163 of the Act in relation to property held by or transferred to a defendant on or after the date of conviction. Equally Article 20(4) provides that a court could take into account any payment or other reward received by a defendant on or after the date of conviction, original determination or current assessment but only where it represents the defendant’s benefit from relevant criminal conduct or were received in connection with drug trafficking carried on or before the date of the court decision.

236.New provision has been required primarily to take account of the new role of the Assets Recovery Agency (ARA) in criminal confiscation. Either the prosecutor or the Director may apply to the court for a reconsideration of the assessment of benefit from criminal conduct under these sections.

237.The principle underlying sections 19, 20, 172 and 173 is that reconsideration should only be applied for where new evidence comes to light. It is inappropriate for an authority to have evidence at the time of the earlier proceedings, yet not to apply for a confiscation order on that occasion but to apply for reconsideration at a later date. The provision included in these sections reflects this principle.

Sections 172 & 173: Order made: reconsideration of available amount; Inadequacy of available amount: variation of order

238.These sections correspond to those for England and Wales at sections 22 and 23 save that the comparable references to other sections in this Act reflect the numbering adopted for this part of the Act.

Section 174: Inadequacy of available amount: discharge of order

239.As in England and Wales under current legislation, there is no provision for writing off a confiscation order. The same practical difficulties outlined elsewhere in the explanatory notes clearly equally apply in Northern Ireland. However there are no justices’ chief executives in Northern Ireland nor are Crown Court orders enforced through the magistrates' courts. Accordingly the section is drafted to reflect the operational circumstances in Northern Ireland.

240.Section 174 therefore provides that, the prosecutor enforcing a confiscation order, may apply to the Crown Court to write the order off if the outstanding sum is under £1,000 and the reason for the shortfall is a fluctuation in exchange rates or some other factor specified in secondary legislation, or some combination of the two. No similar provision is available where the Director is enforcing a confiscation order because enforcement by the Director will always involve the appointment of a receiver, who will be able to apply to the Crown Court under section 173.

Section 175: Small amount outstanding: discharge of order

241.Section 175 deals with the situation where a confiscation order has been satisfied almost in its entirety, but a sum of £50 or less is outstanding. Under these circumstances, a chief clerk may apply to the Crown Court for the order to be written off. In all other respects the section is the same as section 25.

Section 176: Information

242.Section 176 contains provision ancillary to sections 169-170. Its purpose is to make it clear that sections 166-168 on statements of information and the provision of information by the defendant apply to reconsideration proceedings as they apply to confiscation proceedings immediately following a conviction.

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Explanatory Notes

Text created by the government department responsible for the subject matter of the Act to explain what the Act sets out to achieve and to make the Act accessible to readers who are not legally qualified. Explanatory Notes were introduced in 1999 and accompany all Public Acts except Appropriation, Consolidated Fund, Finance and Consolidation Acts.


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