I am recognised as an expert in the field of criminal property confiscations. I am able to assist with actions relating to criminal property confiscations in Western Australia as well as federal Proceeds of Crime Act matters.
I can assist with efficiently and economically:
- Responding to a Freezing Notice, including compulsory statutory declarations and preparing and filing Objections to Confiscation;
- Responding to a Confiscation application by the DPP;
- Negotiating settlement with the DPP; and
- Conducting litigation under the Criminal Property Confiscation Act 2000 (WA) (CPCA), including responding to applications made by the DPP under s 30 of that Act for a declaration of confiscation.
Compulsory interviews under s 76 Criminal Property Confiscation Act
Section 76 of the Criminal Property Confiscation Act 2000 gives the Police the power to compulsorily interview people. Although this power overrides the right to silence, the powers of Police officers acting under s 76 are not open ended.
A s 76 interview should always be recorded.
The person being interviewed should ask the Police to allow them to seek legal advice before the interview starts. If Police refuse, the person being interviewed should repeat the request to speak to a lawyer at the start of the recording.
It is also desirable for the lawyer to speak to the Police officers who will be conducting the interview before it starts. This is for two reasons. First, to determine whether the s 76 interview power is properly available to Police. Second, to ensure that the interviewing Police officers take appropriate steps to prevent disclosure of answers given in the interview to other Police officers who may be involved in any criminal investigation.
I am able to be contacted onoutside of business hours in relation to these interviews.
CPCA time limits
There are very strict time limits which must be complied with to protect the rights of people who own property that has been frozen under the Criminal Property Confiscation Act.
- Once the freezing notice is served, the statutory declaration must be made and lodged within 7 days.
- An objection to confiscation must be filed within 28 days of receiving the freezing notice.
The first step in responding to a freezing notice is to prepare a statutory declaration. This must be done within 7 days. Failure to comply is an offence. It is important to take detailed instructions before the client signs the statutory declaration. In my view the statutory declaration should say no more than what is required by the Criminal Property Confiscation Act.
There is a fine line between not disclosing enough information and disclosing more than is required. Getting it wrong can have consequences down the track when the client is fighting to keep their property.
The next step to responding to a freezing notice is usually the filing of an objection with the relevant Court. This must be done within 28 days of service of the freezing notice. An objection must not only comply with the Act but also with the relevant Rules of Court.
It is fair to say that there is a tension between what the Act contemplates and what the Rules provide for. To compound the difficulty there are no prescribed forms or publicly available precedents/templates for objections under the Criminal Property Confiscation Act. I have developed my own precedents (which have been accepted by the Courts) which means I can spend my time, and the client’s money, on the substance of the matter and not the technical processes.
Given the urgency of these matters please contact me by telephone onor after hours. A comprehensive brief is not required for these matters in the first instance.
For lawyers who would like more information, two of my papers about the CPCA are available for free download: