ACQUISITION OF CRIMINAL PROPERTY

Following the appellant’s conviction for possessing criminal property, the sentencing judge had been entitled to find that he had been involved in a drug deal when found in possession of a large amount of cash. However, the judge had erred by sentencing the appellant by reference solely to the sentencing guidelines for drug offences; he should also have had regard to the guidelines for money-laundering offences. The appellant’s sentence of four and a half years’ imprisonment would be replaced by a two-and-a-half-year term.

[2017] EWCA Crim 213

A total sentence of two years’ imprisonment was appropriate following pleas of guilty to distributing infringing articles contrary to the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988 s.107(1)(d), furnishing false information contrary to the Theft Act 1968 s.17(1)(b) and possessing criminal property contrary to the Proceeds of Crime Act 2002 s.329(1). For a sustained period, the offender had copied or produced audio books, without the appropriate licences or permissions, and had sold them through the internet for a profit of £56,000.

[2017] EWCA Crim 141

Defendants who wanted full credit for their guilty pleas had to plead early and advance a realistic basis of plea. A reduction of one-fifth rather than one-third was appropriate in the case of two offenders who, despite entering early guilty pleas, had not submitted acceptable bases of plea until the date fixed for a Newton hearing.

[2017] EWCA Crim 251

A four-year determinate sentence imposed following an offender’s guilty pleas to two counts of conspiracy to defraud was appropriate where he had set up and operated websites which permitted the viewing of films in breach of copyright.

[2016] NICA 27

A sentence of 10 years’ imprisonment was appropriate in the case of the appellant following his pleas of guilty to a number of drug offences. He was entitled to a significant discount for giving evidence against men who had kidnapped and attempted to kill him.

[2016] EWCA Crim 873

Concurrent sentences of 18 and 24 months’ imprisonment were upheld for an offender who had been convicted of two offences of acquiring criminal property following his significant role in a sophisticated money laundering scheme.

A conviction for conspiracy to possess criminal property was unsafe where the judge had incorrectly directed the jury that it only had to be satisfied that the accused had suspected that the relevant property was criminal property in order to convict him.

For an offence contrary to Proceeds of Crime Act 2002 s.328(1) to have been committed, it was not necessary for criminal property to be in existence at the time a defendant became concerned in an arrangement to facilitate the acquisition, use or control of criminal property.

[2013] EWCA Crim 2237

A sentence of 27 months’ imprisonment was appropriate in the case of the appellant, who had pleaded guilty to acquiring criminal property after earning substantial sums from unlicensed vehicle-clamping.

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[2013] EWCA Crim 2670

A sentence of two years’ imprisonment imposed following a plea of guilty to acquiring, using or possessing criminal property where the offender’s bank account had been used to receive fraudulent money transfers was reduced to 16 months. Even allowing for a tougher sentencing regime than that used for banking and insurance frauds, the original sentence had been too high.

[2013] EWCA Crim 851

Where the prosecution case was that the cash belonging to the defendant could, in the circumstances, only have been the proceeds of unspecified crime, the judge should have responded to a jury question about tax evasion by instructing the jury that tax evasion had never been part of the prosecution, had never been subject to any evidence and the jury should simply not speculate on that matter any further.

[2013] EWCA Crim 1865

Persistent and wide-ranging fraudulent activities involving substantial amounts of money and which were professionally planned justified a starting point at the top of the range of the nearest applicable sentencing guideline for banking and insurance fraud, and obtaining credit through fraud. A sentence of 27 months’ imprisonment after a guilty plea was appropriate.

[2013] EWCA Crim 94

A sentence of two years’ imprisonment was appropriate in the case of a man who had been convicted of money-laundering offences arising from the theft of valuable computer parts.

[2012] EWCA Crim 2102

Concurrent sentences of 15 months’ imprisonment imposed following convictions for five counts of converting criminal property and one of possessing criminal property were replaced with concurrent sentences each comprising 51 weeks’ imprisonment suspended for two years together with a six-month curfew requirement where the offender was the sole full-time carer of her seriously ill husband and where, given further information that had become available, justice could be done and it was better for the innocent third parties involved and society more generally if the offender was released to resume care.

[2012] EWCA Crim 2219

Two sentences of six years and one sentence of eight years’ imprisonment imposed on three offenders following trial was appropriate for the drugs-related kidnapping of a vulnerable adult. Consecutive sentences of four years’ imprisonment imposed on two of the offenders for possession of criminal property did not make their total sentences manifestly excessive.

[2012] EWCA Crim 1663

Where a Goodyear indication of sentence had been given in respect of two counts of possessing criminal property and one count of transferring criminal property, in sentencing the offender following his guilty plea a judge had failed to give sufficient credit for the various mitigating factors. The appropriate total sentence was three-and-a-half-years’ imprisonment.

[2012] EWCA Crim 1795

The court stressed the importance of a judge ascertaining whether a plea had been entered at the “first reasonable opportunity” for the purpose of discounting sentence. It could depend on when documents had been served and a number of other factors. There was no invariable rule that it must be when the defendant was interviewed at the police station.

[2012] EWCA Crim 1431

A judge had been entitled to admit evidence for the prosecution at trial in the form of two statements and diary extracts from the defendant’s wife under the hearsay provisions in the Criminal Justice Act 2003 s.114 even though she had declined to give oral evidence and was not compellable as a prosecution witness.

[2012] EWCA Crim 227

A conviction for possession of cannabis with intent to supply was unsafe where the judge had excluded expert evidence regarding whether there was a general perception among drug users that cannabis was effective to manage or alleviate symptoms of epilepsy. The evidence would have provided objective evidence to demonstrate that such a belief was widely held and was relevant as to whether the defendant held a genuine belief to that effect.

[2011] EWCA Crim 1675

The natural and ordinary meaning of the Proceeds of Crime Act 2002 s.328(1) was that the arrangement to which it referred must be one which related to property which was criminal property at the time when the arrangement began to operate on it. To say that it extended to property which was originally legitimate but became criminal only as a result of carrying out the arrangement was to stretch the language of the section beyond its proper limits.

[2010] EWCA Crim 1925

A conviction for an offence of acquiring criminal property under the Proceeds of Crime Act 2002 s.329(1) was safe where the judge had given the jury appropriate directions with regard to breaches of the PACE codes of practice Code C and the definition of “acquiring” for the purposes of s.329(1).

[2010] EWCA Crim 1779

Despite the summing up in a lengthy fraud case being turgid and unsystematic, its structure and style were not such as to affect the safety of the convictions. Whether such shortcomings made a conviction unsafe was case-specific, and the judge had eventually crystallised the issues.

[2010] EWCA Crim 548

In a trial for possession of criminal property where the issue was whether or not the defendant knew or suspected that money given to her by her cohabitee was the proceeds of crime, the judge had been correct to permit the Crown to cross-examine her on luxury items in her home in order to suggest that her cohabitee’s lifestyle must have told her that he was involved in crime.

[2010] EWCA Crim 591

Convictions on two counts of entering into, or becoming concerned in, a money laundering arrangement were unsafe, as the judge had incorrectly stated that a house remained criminal property after it had been resold to a bone fide purchaser.

[2009] EWCA Crim 2879

A judge had been right to reject a submission of no case to answer in relation to offences of acquiring criminal property as, when a co-defendant had dishonestly transferred credit balances to a defendant’s bank account, the defendant had obtained a benefit from that criminal conduct and had therefore acquired criminal property within the meaning of the Proceeds of Crime Act 2002 s.340.

[2009] EWCA Crim 2642

The Fraud Act 2006 s.13 had removed the privilege against self-incrimination in respect of an offence under the Proceeds of Crime Act 2002 s.328 because an offence under s.328 of the 2002 Act was a “related offence” within the meaning of s.13(4) of the 2006 Act.

[2009] EWCA Civ 1124

A sentence of 14 months’ detention in a young offender institution following an offender’s pleas of guilty to acquiring or possessing criminal property and concealing, disguising, converting or transferring criminal property was manifestly excessive as the offender was an impecunious student, of positive good character and had received no gain.

[2009] EWCA Crim 2194

The word “consideration” in the Proceeds of Crime Act 2002 s.329 was to be given its normal legal meaning.

[2009] EWCA Crim 2242

On a proper construction of the Proceeds of Crime Act 2002, it was not necessary, in respect of money laundering offences, to prove the specific offence from which criminal property had derived so long as the source was criminal; and the obligation to make disclosure did not require proof of actual money laundering, it arose in circumstances where there was suspicion, or reasonable cause to suspect, that this was taking place.

[2009] HCJAC 60