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.

Sillery v The Queen (1994) 180 CLR 353 at 359, per Murphy J.

Asset Forfeiture

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.

Legislation

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.

Click for more information about the Proceeds of Crime Act


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.

Find out how to respond to matters under the CPCA


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

June 24, 2018 Using frozen money to pay defence legal fees

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.

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June 24, 2018 National Cooperative Scheme on Unexplained Wealth

The Unexplained Wealth Legislation Amendment Bill 2018 proposes a ‘National Cooperative Scheme on Unexplained Wealth’. In this article I address the utility of this scheme and raise some issues with its proposed operation.

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January 5, 2018 Criminal Property Confiscation Act WA: Jurisdictional limits

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.

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January 5, 2018 Proceeds of Crime compulsory examinations

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) [2017] SADC 119.

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