Clause 296 - Release of detained cash

Part of Proceeds of Crime Bill – in a Public Bill Committee at 2:30 pm on 10 January 2002.

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Photo of Bob Ainsworth Bob Ainsworth The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for the Home Department 2:30, 10 January 2002

I beg to move amendment No. 330, in page 171, line 25, leave out from second 'the' to end of line 27 and insert

'conditions in section 294 for the detention of the cash are no longer met in relation to the cash to be released'.

Clause 296 deals with the release of detained cash. It sets out conditions under which the court may release cash, on application by the person from whom it was seized. The effect of the amendment is to apply the same test for the release hearing as is used in applications for continued detention under clause 294.

The tests that the court applies to detention and release applications should be the same, as the issue is the same: namely, should the cash continue to be detained? The only material difference between detention and release applications is that, under the latter, the burden of proof rests on the person from whom the cash was seized, rather than on the seizing officer.

The amendment makes it slightly easier for an applicant to secure the release of the cash. Instead of satisfying the court that the cash is not recoverable property, or that it was not intended for use in unlawful conduct, he need only satisfy it that the set of conditions in clause 294 for detention is no longer fully met. Those conditions are that there are reasonable grounds for suspecting that the cash is derived from, or intended for use in, unlawful conduct and that its detention is justified pending further investigation, or that it is connected with an offence for which criminal proceedings are being considered or are under way.

The amendment follows the approach taken at paragraph 5 of schedule 1 of the Anti-terrorism, Crime and Security Act 2001, with regard to persons challenging the detention of cash that is suspected of being linked to terrorism.