Asset and Funds Forfeiture and Confiscation
This is an area of criminal law in New Zealand that is developing extremely rapidly and one that can be extremely complex. Over the years members of Chambers have been involved in many cases involving applications by the Crown to have assets or funds forfeited to the Crown which have allegedly been associated with criminal activity.
The Criminal Proceeds (Recovery) Act 2009 replaces the Proceeds of Crimes Act 1991 and provides the Crown with greater powers to restrain and forfeit property and to take funds derived from significant criminal activity, sometimes without the need for a criminal conviction. We are acutely aware of the major changes that the new Act has made and the greater powers it has bestowed on the Crown.
The legislation empowers the Court to make various types of awards forfeiting property to the Crown that has been derived directly or indirectly from significant criminal activity or that represents the value of a person’s unlawfully derived income.
Members of Chambers know full well what criteria have to be satisfied in order for the main orders to be granted whether it be an “asset forfeiture order” in regard to tainted property, a “profit forfeiture order” in respect of benefits unlawfully derived from significant criminal activity or an “instrument forfeiture order” in respect of property used to commit or facilitate an offence.
Certain orders under the Act are criminal in nature but others such as the assets forfeiture order and profits forfeiture order are considered civil proceedings. Guardian Chambers recognises that this unique blend of complex criminal and civil law is changing at a rapid pace and urgent action is often required for clients who have considerable assets and large amounts of money in bank accounts. Issues under confiscation legislation have to be assessed and addressed carefully and often before any criminal charges are laid.
Guardian Chambers can certainly address these issues and not only help a client defend serious criminal charges but also provide them with quality advice and representation when the Crown seek orders to take assets or money associated with the alleged criminal offences.