One of the lesser known, often poorly understood provisions of the confiscation regime under the Proceeds of Crime Act 2002 (POCA) is section 22, which provides an opportunity to the prosecutor to invite a ‘reconsideration of the available amount’. For many defendants who have been through the process, had an order made and in many cases satisfied that order in full, the first they have heard of that section is the letter informing them that such an application is to be made.
The range of powers available to investigators under the Proceeds of Crime Act 2002 (POCA) is extensive. While there is some overlap with powers available for other investigations, the fact that a case involves one of the issues with which POCA is concerned makes a significant difference to what investigators can do.
The shock of a criminal conviction, and/or a harsher than expected sentence, can make it hard to think clearly about the options for what to do next. Where a trial and mitigation has been carefully and properly prepared, the advisers who have helped throughout the case will usually be the best placed to say whether there are grounds for an appeal. In some cases the defendants and their family members will want to take a second opinion, but this is never cheap or easy, and time is always of the essence.
An increasing number of people are finding themselves on the receiving end of summary forfeiture proceedings in the magistrates’ court, a system that is designed to be simple and efficient from the point of view of law enforcement, but which carries significant risks for the owners of the property at stake.
For many people who receive or are served with a Crown Court Restraint Order, this will be the first time they have had anything to do with the criminal justice system. In some circumstances it will follow swiftly on from an arrest and/or the execution of a search warrant of their home or business premises, and may have been accompanied by the seizure of cash or property. In others it will simply come alone and without warning, complete with a penal notice to warn the recipient of dire consequences of any failure to comply.