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Part of Counter-Terrorism Bill – in a Public Bill Committee at 10:30 am on 13th May 2008.

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Photo of Tony McNulty Tony McNulty Minister of State (Security, Counter-terrorism, Crime and Policing), Home Office 10:30 am, 13th May 2008

Clause 33 extends the power of the court in clause 32 to order, as we have just discussed, forfeiture of money or other property under the possession or control of the person convicted by it, from the terrorists finance offences with which clause 32 is concerned, to certain other terrorism offences and offences with a terrorist connection.

A number of offences contained in the 2000 Act and the Terrorism Act 2006 do not have bespoke comprehensive forfeiture provisions attached to them. This clause will allow a court that convicts a person of certain terrorist offences or offences with a terrorist connection to order the forfeiture of money or other property in the possession or control of the person convicted at the time of the offence, which had either been used for the purposes of terrorism, or which it was intended by the person convicted should be used for the purpose of terrorism, or which the court believed would be used for the purpose of terrorism unless forfeited.

The extension of the court’s powers is necessary as the more general forfeiture provisions that exist, in particular section 143 of the Powers of Criminal Courts (Sentencing) Act 2000 do not cover complex assets such as land. It is clearly right that land held by terrorists for terrorist purposes, such as a flat bought to use as a bomb-making factory, is removed from circulation. Specifically, clause 33 inserts new section 23A in the Terrorism Act 2000, setting out the power of the court to order the forfeiture of assets of a person convicted of certain terrorism offences and offences with a terrorist connection.

Subsection (2)(b) contains a list of offences in the Terrorism Act 2006 to which these powers will apply. This includes offences under sections 2, 5 and 9 to 11. Amendment no. 138 would add offences under section 6 to this list. Section 6 of the Terrorism Act concerns the provision and receipt of terrorist training, and section 7 sets out specific powers of forfeiture in relation to an offence committed under section 6, but these are restricted to assets connected to the offence itself. These wider powers of forfeiture ought to be made available to the courts in respect of people convicted for an offence under section 6, as I have said—the provision and receipt of terrorist training—as it may be that such a person has other assets intended to be used for the purposes of terrorism that would not be available for forfeiture under the current regime. This is in line with the extension of the forfeiture regime in general under the Bill. Amendment No. 139 would simply add a line to section 7 of the Terrorism Act 2006 stating that the forfeiture powers set out there in respect of assets connected to an offence are in addition to those in new section 23A.

That is simply tidying up matters on how the three Bills relate to each other. I commend the amendments to the Committee.