Legislation has passed in Western Australia to give the Corruption and Crime Commission the power to investigate and litigate Unexplained Wealth matters under the Criminal Property Confiscation Act (WA).Read More
Criminal Property Confiscation
& Proceeds of Crime
The Athenian lawmaker Draco is reputed to have imposed for all offences, even the most trifling, the penalty appropriate for the most severe [death] so that there was only one punishment.
Asset forfeiture regimes are often described as draconian. However Draco imposed his punishments on offenders, not innocent victims. Asset forfeiture laws often also adversely affect innocent third parties.
Common themes of modern asset forfeiture across Australia and the world include reversal of the onus of proof, no right to silence, harsh deeming provisions and the ability for the authorities to take action even when nobody has been convicted or even charged.
warning Strict time limits apply: as little as 7 days to comply with obligations or protect interests.
Proceeds of Crime Act 2002 (Cth)
The Criminal Asset Confiscation Task Force led by the Australian Federal Police is responsible for most matters under the federal Proceeds of Crime Act 2002.
Criminal Property Confiscation Act 2000 (WA)
The WA Police Proceeds of Crime Squad investigate matters under the CPCA. A dedicated team of lawyers at the DPP (WA) deal with the litigation.
Similar legislation exists in all states and territories. For example, the Northern Territory Criminal Property Forfeiture Act largely replicates the WA Act. I am able to advise and appear in all jurisdictions.
Asset forfeiture blog posts
It is well established that property frozen under the Criminal Property Confiscation Act is able to be released to fund legal or living expenses. However, WA DPP practice over the last 10 years has been to deny requests to release funds frozen under the CPCA crime-used or crime-derived grounds. I successfully argued in the District Court that property frozen on these grounds could still be released for such expenses.Read More
Convicted drug trafficker and personality Schapelle Corby has given an interview to Australian magazine Women’s Day. This interview, purportedly about her future and not her past offence, is due to be published March 2018. But can the interview fee still be confiscated as Literary Proceeds under Proceeds of Crime laws?Read More
How should the value of frozen property be calculated for purposes of the jurisdictional limits of the Magistrates’ Court (and by extension, the District Court)? The correct calculation has been held to be based on the total value of the frozen property; contrary to previous practice.Read More
The South Australia District Court recently published an interesting (and lengthy) decision considering the interaction of compulsory examinations under s 180 Proceeds of Crime Act 2002 (Cth) with the accusatorial criminal process: R v Ruzehaji (No 2)  SADC 119.Read More