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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.

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