The court refused to vary a confiscation order imposed following an individual’s guilty plea to breach of an enforcement notice by illegally renting out three bedsits. The rental income had been a benefit received as a result of criminal conduct for the purposes of the Proceeds of Crime Act 2002 s.76. It was not open to the applicant to argue that as he could have lawfully received a benefit from the property, that amount should be deducted from the confiscation order.
A private prosecutor was not entitled to payment out of central funds of his costs relating to confiscation order enforcement proceedings, as the Prosecution of Offences Act 1985 s.17 was not intended to apply to civil proceedings in the High Court, even if the proceedings were consequential on criminal proceedings.
Where a company had a proprietary claim over proceeds of fraud because they had been obtained through the unlawful use of its property by its directors, it was entitled to assert its claim in priority to a confiscation order obtained by the CPS.
The Criminal Justice and Data Protection (Protocol No. 36) Regulations 2014 were to be read purposively so as to give effect to Framework Decision 2006/783 on the application of the principle of mutual recognition to confiscation orders. The Regulations could be applied to confiscation orders made before their coming into effect unless it would cause real unfairness to do so. Confiscation orders could extend to property which did not directly represent the proceeds of crime where the defendant had benefited from general criminal conduct.
The court considered the principles governing the Proceeds of Crime Act 2002 s.6(5), which required the court to make a confiscation order where a defendant had benefited from his criminal conduct, if it would not be disproportionate to require the defendant to pay the recoverable amount. The proportionality exception did not mean that a general discretion was vested in the court. It neither called for nor permitted a general exercise of balancing various interests, including the potential hardship or injustice which might be caused to third parties by the making of an order which included a tainted gift.