Court of Appeal provides important guidance on Proceeds of Crime Act and historical confiscation

April 23, 2019

Ian Whitehurst from Exchange Chambers, instructed by David Bloom from Sonn Macmillan Walker, has appeared before the Court of Appeal in a case providing important guidance on S22 of the Proceeds of Crime Act 2002 (POCA) and the approach the courts should take when reviewing historical confiscation.

The case involved a former police informant who, following a drugs conviction, was subject to confiscation proceedings.

The key issue considered by the Court of Appeal was the extent to which a discount can apply to the recoverable amount in confiscation proceedings.

Ian Whitehurst, acting for the appellant, argued that the discount in this particular case should increase from 40% to around 75-80% due to a range of factors.  He said that greater credit should have been given to the appellant for assisting the police and argued that insufficient weight was given to the principal of rehabilitation.

The Court of Appeal held that while there is no reason why assistance to the authorities should not be relied upon, the Court must bear in mind that a reduction allows the offender to benefit to that extent from his crime.

Commenting on the case, David Bloom said:

“This clear confirmation of the court’s discretion means that this is likely to be one of the few key cases in prosecution applications for reconsiderations of confiscation orders.”