In confiscation proceedings, the court determines the benefits which defendants derive from offences committed on the basis of POCA. The court makes various assumptions and also considers the realisable assets of defendants. We are often instructed by solicitors representing defendants to provide initial written advice based on an overview of data set out in prosecutors’ statements so that we can comment on the high value amounts that should be considered at an early stage. Our subsequent dealings with our legal team are intended to identify weaknesses in the defendant’s case, narrow the data to be considered and establish areas for possible discussion with the prosecution.
Given the onus is on the defendant to demonstrate that income, assets and spending derive from legitimate rather than criminal activities, we have extensive experience in dealing with these aspects. We also analyse bank account transactions to take account of arithmetical errors and the double-counting of key transactions and review relevant evidence to establish whether defendants have utilised funds to accumulate “hidden” assets such as overseas properties concealed from the authorities.