Source: All England Reporter
Publisher Citation: [2016] All ER (D) 74 (Dec)
Neutral Citation: [2016] UKSC 65
Court: Supreme Court

Lord Neuberger P, Lord Mance, Lord Reed, Lord Hughes and Sir Declan Morgan SCJJ

Representation Simon Farrell QC and Kitty St Aubyn (instructed by Faradays Solicitors) for the defendant.
  Jonathan Hall QC and Will Hays (instructed by Instructed by CPS Appeals and Review Unit) for the Crown.
Judgment Dates: 14 December 2016


Sentence - Confiscation order - Postponement of confiscation proceedings - Defendant pleading guilty to drug offences and to money laundering - Judge sentencing defendant to imprisonment and making order for forfeiture and deprivation - As to confiscation, judge making postponement order and setting timetable - Defendant contending delays and non-compliance by prosecution causing confiscation proceedings to lapse and court having no jurisdiction to make order - Judge rejecting defendant's contention on jurisdiction and making confiscation order - Court of Appeal, Criminal Division, finding no jurisdiction to make order and quashing order - Whether Court of Appeal erring - Whether breach of statutory procedural terms for post-conviction confiscation under relevant statutory provisions depriving court of jurisdiction to make confiscation order - , .

The Case

Sentence Confiscation order. The Supreme Court, in allowing the prosecution's appeal against the Court of Appeal, Criminal Division's decision quashing a confiscation order, considered whether and when a breach of statutory procedural terms for the process of post-conviction confiscation under the (POCA), deprived the court of jurisdiction to make such an order. The court, having considered, among other things, ss 14 and 15 of POCA, held that a procedural failure connected with postponement of confiscation proceedings was not the sole ground for quashing a confiscation order. The correct analysis was not that a procedural defect deprived the court of jurisdiction, but that a failure to honour the procedure set down by the statute raised the very real possibility that it would be unfair to make an order. The court held that, in the present case, there was no obstacle to the imposition of the confiscation order in circumstances where the order had eventually been made well within the requisite time of two years and in circumstances where it had not been suggested that any unfairness had befallen the defendant in consequence of the irregularities which had occurred. The confiscation order was restored.

Practice Areas

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