Clause 95 - Time for making order

Part of Proceeds of Crime Bill – in a Public Bill Committee at 10:15 am on 6 December 2001.

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Photo of Mr George Foulkes Mr George Foulkes Minister of State, Scottish Office, Minister of State (Scotland Office) 10:15, 6 December 2001

I think that you have explained the procedure to Opposition Members, Mr. O'Brien. I wish to explain the new clause.

New clause 6 brings clause 95 into line with clause 7 in part 2. It is, however, qualified by clause 103, which allows the court to proceed to sentence the accused when the confiscation proceedings have been postponed. Although a court is empowered to make a confiscation order before it passes any other sentence, the normal practice will continue to be for the court to postpone consideration of a confiscation application until such time as all the necessary information is available and the parties are in a position to proceed to a final hearing.

However, even when a confiscation hearing is postponed, the court cannot impose a fine or make a compensation order until the amount of the order is determined. The new clause makes it clear that a confiscation order must be made before an accused is sentenced, in a case where there is no postponement under clauses 102 and 103. Thus, the court will make the confiscation order before imposing a fine on the accused, or any other order involving payment, other than a compensation order. That will ensure that a confiscation order takes priority over any other financial punishment, except the payment of a compensation order to a victim.

The Committee will have to vote against clause stand part, so that the new clause can be inserted in its place.