A decision ordering the forfeiture in full of bail security money which a claimant had deposited as security for the release of her son-in-law, where he had since absconded, was procedurally unfair. The judge had failed to invite the claimant to address any possible distinction in the treatment of sureties and securities when an individual absconded. Furthermore, he had relied upon first instance decisions that were never made available to her.
Offenders could not avoid confiscation proceedings brought under the Proceeds of Crime Act 2002 s.6 by leaving the country after the proceedings were initiated and claiming to be an absconder within s.6(8) when determination of the issues began. Confiscation proceedings under s.6 commenced from the time that the court agreed with the CPS that it was appropriate to proceed under that section, not when the court embarked on a determinative hearing.
A judge had been entitled to increase an offender’s sentence for conspiracy to supply a class A drug to reflect the fact that he had absconded from Spain to avoid a sentence for a similar offence. A sentence of 10 years-and-eight months’ imprisonment for a conspiracy involving 3kg of cocaine at over 65% purity was appropriate.
A policy of the secretary of state, restricting the circumstances in which prisoners who absconded while on release on temporary licence would be eligible to progress to placement in open conditions, was lawful.
The secretary of state’s “absconder policy”, which excluded from transfer to open conditions any prisoner with a history of absconding, escaping, or serious failure relating to release on temporary licence was inconsistent with his directions to the parole board issued under the Criminal Justice Act 2003 Pt 12 s.239(6) and set out in Prison Service Instruction 36/2012 Annex D. While the directions remained in force, the absconder policy was unlawful.