Clause 33

Policing and Crime Bill – in a Public Bill Committee at 3:45 pm on 12th February 2009.

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Power to retain seized property: England and Wales

Photo of Vernon Coaker Vernon Coaker Minister of State (Home Office) (Policing, Crime & Security) 4:00 pm, 12th February 2009

I beg to move amendment 150, in clause 33, page 25, leave out line 2 and insert—

‘(1) The Proceeds of Crime Act 2002 (c. 29) is amended as follows.

(2) After section 41 insert—’.

Photo of Hugh Bayley Hugh Bayley NATO Parliamentary Assembly UK Delegation

With this we may discuss the Government amendments 151 to 155, 164 to 166, 172, 183 to 185, 192 to 200, 202 to 204, 210, 211, and 239 to 241.

Photo of Vernon Coaker Vernon Coaker Minister of State (Home Office) (Policing, Crime & Security)

I have spoken to the hon. Members for Hornchurch and for Chesterfield, and I will move some of the Government amendments formally. On others, however, I will read into the record the facts, which may be of help not only to the Committee, but also to other hon. Members.

The amendments add to the new provisions in the Proceeds of Crime Act, as set out in clauses 33 to 38. Clauses 33 to 35 introduce a new power to continue to detain property seized under other powers where the relevant property is subject to an existing restraint order. As the Committee knows, a restraint order is an interim measure under the Proceeds of Crime Act, which prohibits persons from dealing with or disposing of specified property. A restraint order does not, however, provide for a general power to retain property. Although restraint orders effectively freeze property, that property may remain in the hands of a defendant. That obviously carries the risk that the defendant may dispose of, hide or devalue it to frustrate a subsequent confiscation order. That is particularly true of moveable property such as cars, jewellery and electronic equipment.

There is, of course, provision for those affected by the restraint order, and therefore the detention of the property, to challenge the order. If a decision discharges or varies the restraint order and releases the said property from detention, the prosecutors or others have the right of appeal. Clause 33 provides that in England and Wales, such property can continue to be retained by law enforcement with a view to it still being available for sale to meet a future confiscation order. That will ensure that items from which the defendant benefits as a result of criminal conduct are available for confiscation, which is only right, just and proper. The powers under which property has been seized and can be detained are certain powers of the Police and Criminal Evidence Act 1984 and the Proceeds of Crime Act 2002. For example, property seized as evidence under PACE, and also subject to a restraint order may continue to be retained even when the evidential purpose for retention no longer exists.

To explain why there seem to be so many amendments, clauses 34 and 35 provide equivalent provisions for the equivalent schemes in Scotland and Northern Ireland. The amendments are parallel amendments to those provisions. Clause 36 inserts several new sections—47A to 47P—into the Proceeds of Crime Act. It provides for specific search and seizure powers in England and Wales to prevent the dispersal or devaluation of personal property in anticipation of a confiscation order being made. Therefore, it differs from clauses 33 to 35, which provide for detention powers only. The powers are subject to judicial oversight and various other safeguards. Clauses 37 and 38 provide equivalent provisions for the equivalent schemes in Scotland and Northern Ireland. Once property has been seized under clauses 36 to 38, the seizing officer can initially detain it for 48 hours. He then needs to obtain judicial approval for continued detention. That will ensure, along with other safeguards, that the detention of the property is proportionate. Depending on the facts of the case, the judicial approval may be from a magistrates court making a detention order or a Crown court making a restraint order or varying an existing order to authorise the continued detention. Restraint orders are, and will be, used in more complex and high-value cases.

The amendments provide that if a decision is made by the courts relating to the detention of property, which is then appealed, the property remains detained until the appeal is concluded. That also applies in cases where there is an outstanding application before the courts. That is necessary as the circumstances by which the property is detained may cease while the appeal or application is pending, if, for example, under proposed new section 47K of the Proceeds of Crime Act, the initial 48 hours of detention expires and an application to the Crown court for a restraint order, which would authorise the continuing detention of that property, has been made but awaits a decision. In those circumstances, as the provisions are currently drafted, the property would have to be returned.

Amendment 172 provides that during an appeal the property remains detained until that appeal is concluded. That is necessary as the provisions, as currently drafted, require the property to be returned. Other amendments in the group achieve the same in other applications and appeals where otherwise have to be returned. The  amendments ensure that property continues to be detained until there is no further possibility of an appeal. If the property were returned, it would be to those who are likely to dissipate it, thwarting the original reason for the seizure and detention and thereby undermining the policy intention. The property could be unavailable when a confiscation is made and needs to be paid, which would undermine the purpose of the clause.

In the clauses, the powers to detain are made with the view that when a confiscation order is made and requires payment, the property retained under the order can be sold to meet that confiscation order. The power of the magistrates courts to authorise sale of seized property is provided in clause 39. The amendments plug a gap to ensure the ongoing detention of property when that continuing detention is being contested.

Amendments 194 to 200 add to the new search and seizure provisions in clauses 36 to 38 of the Proceeds of Crime Act 2002. The three clauses are necessary for each of the three jurisdictions of the UK. They provide powers for the search and seizure of property to prevent its being made unavailable for satisfying a confiscation that has been, or might be, made. It also provides for the seizure of property that might otherwise be diminished in value by the conduct of a defendant or anyone else. That is an important addition to ensure that confiscation orders are paid when they are made.

As background to the amendments, the existing confiscation provisions in the Proceeds of Crime Act relate not only to the property held by a defendant but to certain gifts made by them to third parties, such as family and friends. That is an important provision as it stops offenders circumventing confiscation by placing their proceeds into the hands of other people, notably immediate family. The legislation calls such property “tainted gifts”, and it is an established and accepted law that in calculating a confiscation order, the court also considers the value of the property that the defendant has given away. “Tainted gifts” includes outright gifts, as well as under-value transactions. It is of note that criminals often reside in houses registered in another family member’s name.

Regarding the amendments, although aware of the tainted gift aspect of confiscation, our initial thinking was that the new powers of search and seize should be limited to the suspect. Practitioners have since voiced concerns that that would be a significant loophole. Defendants could engineer the exclusion of their property by making gifts; an extreme example being a defendant handing over his jewellery and other expensive moveable goods to family members present at a search. Accordingly, the amendments introduce the ability to search for and seize not only property directly held by the defendant, but those tainted gifts made by him or her.

I have tried to answer the point that the hon. Member for Hornchurch made at the beginning, and to look at such matters during the development of the Bill. It is significant that the same stringent safeguards will apply to such searches and seizures. For example, an officer would need reasonable grounds of suspicion before carrying out a search and seizure, and either a warrant or consent to be on the premises would be required for a premises search.

The code of practice will deal with the point of search and seizure from third parties suspected of being recipients of tainted gifts. Under the Proceeds of Crime  Act, restraint orders can refer to third parties if they are recipients of tainted gifts. It is also of note that under that Act a search and seizure of cash under Part 5, and the execution of an investigation search and seizure warrant under Part 8 do not have to be against a person suspected of crime. As with this new power, both those measures are subject to a code of practice and have been operating successfully for six years.

Amendments 193 and 211 repeal the existing seizure power in the confiscation provisions of the Proceeds of Crime Act. Section 126 in Scotland and the Northern Ireland equivalent provide that property subject to an interim restraint order may be seized in the one circumstance of preventing its removal from the country. Clauses 37 and 38 of the Bill make provision for more extensive search and seizure powers that subsume those existing powers. Their continued existence is therefore not justified and the powers are repealed.

Amendments 239 to 241 are consequential on those made in respect of the powers to detain property under clauses 36 to 38. Those clauses specify that property may continue to be detained until there is no further possibility of an appeal. The amendments clarify the meaning of that. There are three amendments for the three separate UK jurisdictions.

I apologise to the Committee for the length of that, but sometimes that is necessary, because we must ensure that accurate information is read into the record, so that our legislators can refer back to it. Many of the provisions in this part of the Bill will have to be dealt with that way, and I apologise in advance.

Photo of James Brokenshire James Brokenshire Shadow Minister (Home Affairs)

I will compile my comments to amendments 153, 155, 172, 192 and 210, which all cover the same point, but one that is reflected in different parts of the Bill. The current provisions provide for the continuing detention of seized assets where a restraint order has been recalled or varied and detention is no longer applied. In the case of amendment 153, and as reflected in the other similar amendments that I referred to, and notwithstanding the decision of judicial authorities, the assets can continue to be detained until the time when there is no further possibility of an appeal or a review of the court’s decision. I question how that can be appropriate, proportionate or reasonable. It is not even a requirement that the relevant authorities have to intend to appeal or seek a review. As I read it, they can simply hold on to the assets until whatever time they see fit.

I question the need for such a measure, particularly if a legal authority has taken the view that the order should no longer apply. Why then should the assets be, or seemingly be, retained until the right of appeal has lapsed? It almost seems to allow authorities to invoke the power simply at will, if they do not like a decision that has been reached. That does not seem to be right, and I cannot see how it can be compatible with convention rights. It is a serious issue, and one of the points that we have reached where the boundaries that are being pushed are starting to reach the edge of acceptability. The judicial authorities would have reached a conclusion at that point, which may well be subject to appeal, but it seems fundamentally wrong that the local authority can sit on the assets, notwithstanding that a court has effectively said that they no longer need to be detained. Why is that appropriate or necessary? Why should we accept the amendments?

Photo of Vernon Coaker Vernon Coaker Minister of State (Home Office) (Policing, Crime & Security)

I hesitate to say that we disagree with the hon. Gentleman, but we believe that the amendment is appropriate, proportionate and reasonable. Every piece of legislation conforms to the Human Rights Act 1998, and the assets will have to be released if it is not proportionate to detain them. We are trying to close a loophole, meaning that we can detain the property while an appeal has been applied for or is pending. What we are trying to prevent all along is a case that if a restraint order was overturned and an appeal was made, a person in that case might, in that gap, get rid of the assets and the various goods that they have, to try to circumvent a subsequent confiscation order.

There is a point of difference between us: I believe that the clause is proportionate, while the hon. Member for Hornchurch believes that it is not. I think that it is, because there have been far too many occasions when the appeal process has been used as a way of circumventing the due process of law. In the end, if an appeal is successful, the defendant will be able to get their goods back. It is merely detaining them until such time as we can ensure that, should a confiscation order be made, those goods can be used towards the settlement of that order.

Amendment 150 agreed to.

Photo of James Brokenshire James Brokenshire Shadow Minister (Home Affairs)

I beg to move amendment 93, in clause 33, page 25, line 30, leave out subsection (5).

Photo of Hugh Bayley Hugh Bayley NATO Parliamentary Assembly UK Delegation

With this it will be convenient to discuss the following:

Amendment 97, in clause 36, page 27, line 18, at end insert

‘and that use of such power is proportionate’.

Amendment 98, in clause 36, page 27, line 25, leave out ‘the person has benefited’ and insert

‘the arrested person has benefited financially’.

Amendment 99, in clause 36, page 28, line 8, leave out

‘or the officer believes that such an application is to be made’.

Amendment 100, in clause 36, page 28, line 14, leave out

‘or the officer believes that such an application is to be made’.

Amendment 101, in clause 36, page 28, line 22, leave out

‘or the officer believes that such an application is to be made’.

Amendment 102, in clause 36, page 28, line 39, leave out ‘by the defendant’ and insert

‘by the person arrested in the case of a situation satisfying the first or second condition referred to in Clause 47B or the defendant in any other case’.

Amendment 103, in clause 36, page 29, line 13, leave out

‘unless, in the circumstances, it is not practicable to obtain that approval before exercising the power’.

Amendment 104, in clause 36, page 29, line 34, leave out

‘unless, in the circumstances, it is not practicable to obtain that approval before exercising the power’.

Amendment 105, in clause 36, page 29, line 40, leave out ‘a person’ and insert

‘the person arrested in the case of a situation satisfying the first or second condition referred to in Clause 47B or the defendant in any other case’.

Amendment 106, in clause 36, page 30, line 14, leave out ‘a person’ and insert

‘the person arrested in the case of a situation satisfying the first or second condition referred to in Clause 47B or the defendant in any other case’.

Amendment 107, in clause 36, page 30, line 36, leave out from ‘47G’ to end of line 37.

Government amendment 178

Photo of James Brokenshire James Brokenshire Shadow Minister (Home Affairs) 4:15 pm, 12th February 2009

The group gathers a number of different of amendments to clause 33 and subsequent clauses. Amendment 93 would delete subsection (5) of the proposed new section 41A of the Proceeds of Crime Act 2002, which provides the powers in secondary legislation to expand the list of relevant seizure powers to which the new restraint order will apply. Given the nature of this proposed new power, it seems inappropriate for its potential scope to be expanded, rather than pursued into primary legislation. In any event, such new powers would presumably be created by future primary legislation anyway, so why is this provision needed? If not, what additional powers under existing statutes does the Minister have in mind, to which this may apply?

Remaining amendments relate to new search and seizure powers in clause 36 in circumstances where potentially no one has been charged with any offence. Amendment 97 would ensure that the power was used only in circumstances where it was proportionate to do so. This is quite a blunt instrument in terms of how the clause is drafted. That may be appropriate in cases of serious criminality, where significant assets have been accrued because of such activity, but it is equally easy to see that it could be open to misuse.

Amendment 98 is designed to make clear that for the trigger permitting the use of the search and seizure powers to be operable in circumstances where someone has been arrested but not charged, there must be reasonable belief that the arrested person has benefited financially from the suspected illegal conduct. It clarifies who may be subject to the seizure powers. Are they be applied broadly, to virtually anyone, even though they may be completely innocent and unaware that the assets that they hold may have been financed by funds obtained directly, or indirectly, through criminal activity? How far down the chain do the Government intend to go?

As the Bar Council points out in its briefing note, it must be remembered that property that is detained under part 2 of the Proceeds of Crime Act, need not form or be alleged to be proceeds of crime, and the person from whom it is taken need not even be suspected of any crime, let alone charged or convicted. For example, property could be taken from the innocent recipient of a gift. Again, the need for proportionality and reasonableness is relevant in this context, as well as taking account of convention rights.

Amendments 99 to 101 would require the qualification that an appropriate officer can exercise search and seizure powers where he believes that certain applications by the prosecutor have been made. They either have or they have not. It is interesting to note that the officer’s belief does not even have to be a reasonable one. There is seemingly no obligation to check. This seems unacceptable  and unreasonable—it does not seem too much of a hardship or a time constraint for the relevant application to have been made.

Amendments 103, 104 and 107 would make a similar point by stating that approval under proposed new section 47G should have been received. Suggesting that the power should be capable of being exercised in circumstances where it is said to be impracticable to obtain such approval seems to drive a coach and horses through the protections. In whose judgment would it be impracticable? Again, it is easy to see where this provision might be misapplied.

Amendment 105 is particularly important, as it relates to powers to search individuals. As the clause is currently drawn, it grants a general power of search of anyone beyond even existing rights of search under the Police and Criminal Evidence Act. Can the Minister explain the reason behind the measure, as it seems difficult to understand why that would be appropriate.

Amendment 102 would clarify the language around the use of the word “defendant” in proposed new section 47C, given that there will be no defendant if someone has simply been arrested. Amendments 105 and 106 make a similar point in different contexts.

Photo of Vernon Coaker Vernon Coaker Minister of State (Home Office) (Policing, Crime & Security)

I accept the hon. Gentleman’s desire for proportionality and oversight with respect to all of the various powers that we are discussing—particularly in clauses 33 and 36. I also understand that in his amendments about necessity and proportionality that is what he trying to do. Having spent a long time helping officials and others in law enforcement put this Bill together, we too have been trying to do that. We all want to get more proceeds of crime from criminals to ensure that more of the ill-gotten gains are not enjoyed by people who break the law and do not conform to the rules.

The hon. Gentleman will have read the Bill carefully and knows that all the way through there is judicial oversight and the power to vary or discharge an order, and an appeal to the Crown court is available if people feel that a magistrate’s decision, for example, is inappropriate. I have argued all along for the need for that judicial oversight, which the Bill allows for. That relates to search and seizure powers, because obviously if we do not have powers of search and seizure we will have no property to detain, and in clause 33 that is exactly what we have tried to do.

Photo of James Brokenshire James Brokenshire Shadow Minister (Home Affairs)

I accept what the Minister has said, but he will recognise that the scope and ambit of the provisions do not necessarily touch only those people who have undertaken criminal activity, but extend to those who might be completely oblivious to the fact that they are in receipt or possession of assets that are caught within the regime he has set out. Indeed, search powers might equally be applied to them—a point to which I have alluded. He talks about judicial oversight, but essentially that would take place after the event, which is why my amendment would make it clearer from the outset to anyone seeking to use the powers ab initio, regardless of what appeal right or judicial oversight might arise thereafter, that they should have regard to that initial action rather than what might happen after the event.

Photo of Vernon Coaker Vernon Coaker Minister of State (Home Office) (Policing, Crime & Security)

The search powers are based on those used in cash search and seizure. We know that criminal conduct is required on the part of the person, but the property is the key concern to which the provision relates, rather than the individual, who will be dealt with through due process of the law. We are trying to stop significant amounts of property being dispersed before the confiscation order is made, and we have to address that as a public policy issue.

Photo of Vernon Coaker Vernon Coaker Minister of State (Home Office) (Policing, Crime & Security)

I know that the hon. Gentleman does, and as I said at the beginning of the debate, the difference between us is our view of how to do that proportionately. That is why we have built in the judicial oversight and not tried to extend the existing search and seizure powers. No general power of entry is given to anyone dealing with this and, as I have said, we believe that that is proportionate.

Amendment 97 deals with the issue of proportionality and the exercise by officers of the new seizure powers. I agree with the hon. Gentleman that the powers are potentially invasive and intrusive and that the police and others must exercise restraint and caution when using them—that is a given. When giving evidence to the Committee, Mr. Creedon, the chief constable of Derbyshire, gave assurances on behalf of ACPO that the powers would be used in a proportionate way and only when necessary. He said:

“human rights underpin what we do...Human rights are fundamentally important.”——[Official Report, Policing and Crime Public Bill Committee, 27 January 2009; c. 74, Q117.]

Similar assurances were given by Paul Evans, a director of the Serious Organised Crime Agency.

That said, we would not, as a matter of course, put into statute a requirement on law enforcement agencies to act in a way that was compatible with the European convention on human rights because they are automatically required to do so. Were we to include some express provision on proportionality in clause 36, there is a risk that that might cast doubt on whether law enforcement needed to ensure proportionality in the use of other powers granted by the Proceeds of Crime Act 2002 and other legislation. For example, there is nothing specific in the Police and Criminal Evidence Act 1984 to require the police to exercise their search and seizure powers proportionately. Rather, that is a general requirement.

As I have pointed out, there are numerous safeguards in clause 36 to ensure that the powers are used proportionately, including the preconditions set out before the search and seizure powers can be exercised in proposed new section 47B, which require a person to have been arrested, to be already subject to criminal proceedings, or to be subject to an application for a confiscation order or reconsideration of an existing order. Threshold tests for the seizure power, which vary according to the stage in the procedure at which it is proposed to seize the property, are also found in proposed new section 47B.

Photo of James Brokenshire James Brokenshire Shadow Minister (Home Affairs)

I was going to raise this point in the stand part debate, but I shall make it now to save time. The Minister explained why the powers were necessary. However, the Bar Council’s briefing notes on this part of the Bill set out various other powers that may be applicable. They say:

“In other words, the need for a new power of detention of property is debatable in the first place, so it should only be invoked where at least a real degree of necessity is demonstrated.”

That comes back to my point about necessity. The Bar Council clearly feels that there is a debatable point. In the context of our debate, I am asking the Minister to reflect on the matter, given that such views are being espoused by not just me, but people who have more knowledge than I could possibly have.

Photo of Vernon Coaker Vernon Coaker Minister of State (Home Office) (Policing, Crime & Security)

Of course I shall reflect on that. To be fair, the Bar Council also said that it saw a case for what the Government were doing. It did not oppose it in principle. What it was worried about—again, this addresses the issue of necessity and proportionality—was the creation of what it called a lower tier, de facto restraint order. The Bar Council did not oppose the provision in principle, however, but wanted to ensure, as the hon. Gentleman has argued, that we act proportionately. I shall consider his points and see whether there are further measures that we should take to meet some of the concerns.

The seizure power is exercisable only if the officer has reasonable grounds for suspecting either that the property may, unless seized, not be available for satisfying any confiscation order, or that the value of the property may be diminished. That is covered in proposed new section 47C. Certain property is exempt property and may not be seized. The search powers also require reasonable grounds for suspicion before they can be exercised.

There are further safeguards. For example, the value of property seized must not exceed the value of the anticipated confiscation order. There is judicial oversight of any seizure of property and there are rights for the defendant and affected third parties to apply for variation or discharge of the order. Furthermore, a code of practice will be issued to provide further details on the exercise of the powers, with an emphasis on the proportionality requirements. Although I am satisfied that we have done all that we can to ensure that the powers are to be used proportionately, I shall consider the hon. Gentleman’s points.

Let me turn to the issues of prior approval and the appropriate level of approval in the exercise of the search and seizure powers. The search and seizure powers in clause 36 require the prior approval of a justice of the peace or, where not practicable, of a “senior officer”. If the powers are exercised without prior judicial approval and seized property is released within 48 hours, or no property is seized, the Bill imposes additional requirements on law enforcement to explain in writing to the independent “appointed person” why it was not practicable to obtain judicial approval. The appointed person must publish a report every year on the exercise of the powers in cases where officers are required to report to him. The appointed person is a distinguished criminal barrister, Mr. Andrew Clark.

Clause 36 also requires judicial approval of the detention of the property within 48 hours of it being seized. All the new powers are modelled on similar powers already in chapter 3 of part 5 of the 2002 Act as regards searches for, and the seizure of, cash that is suspected of being the proceeds of crime or intended for use in unlawful conduct. Those powers have been operating satisfactorily over the past six years. Judicial oversight  in such cases is provided by the magistrates court or a justice of the peace. The senior officer also has an important role in relation to the matter of prior approval. We are, therefore, not venturing into new territory with the search and seizure powers in clause 36. We see no reason to depart from tried and tested approval procedures, or to depart from the rule that appropriate judicial oversight is provided by a justice of the peace or the magistrates court in those cases where there is no restraint order in place.

Under our proposals, applications for a restraint order, or for a variation of a restraint order to include the detention of seized property, will have to be made to the Crown court. I repeat that we would expect higher value or complex cases to be subject to a restraint order, and therefore judicial authority for the further detention of property would come from the Crown courts. In cases where no restraint order is in place, the application to detain seized property is made to the magistrates court. The magistrate must be satisfied that there are reasonable grounds for suspecting that the seized property may be disposed of or hidden, or that the value of the property may be diminished.

I turn to amendments 98 to 101. Amendment 98 would ensure that the arrested person’s benefit from the alleged criminal conduct was financial. Our view is that this amendment is unnecessary. The part of the clause that the hon. Gentleman seeks to amend with amendment 98 is based on existing provisions in the 2002 Act—specifically in sections 6 and 40. They refer simply to benefit, rather than financial benefit, and benefit is defined in section 6. Neither the courts nor any law enforcement agencies have had any difficulty with this terminology.

Similarly the aspects of clause 36 that the hon. Gentleman wishes to amend with amendments 99 to 101 are based on existing provisions in the 2002 Act, specifically the restraint order provisions in section 40. The issue that amendments 102, 105 and 106 would address, regarding references to the defendant, is dealt with satisfactorily in proposed new section 47B(2). However these amendments have been overtaken by Government amendments 161, 162 and 167, which we will debate later.

On amendment 93, the order-making power proposed in the clause does no more than enable the Secretary of State to add a reference to a provision in an Act or to remove a reference to a provision. It does not allow the Secretary of State to provide for exceptions or to qualify a statutory provision. If a new piece of statute were to provide a new power of seizure, the Secretary of State could, by order, add that provision to the definition of a relevant seizure power. The power to amend the definition of a relevant seizure power by order is subject to the affirmative procedure, so there would be an opportunity for parliamentary oversight and scrutiny.

Government amendment 178 clarifies that references to the accused in the search and seizure powers under clause 37 are to the person arrested for the relevant offence when there is a relevant precondition for triggering the powers. The amendment relates to the Scottish  provisions. Equivalent amendments to the England, Wales and Northern Ireland provisions are being made elsewhere.

Let me say this again: these are very complicated provisions. I apologise again to the Committee for reading some of this into the record, but it is extremely important. The points made by the hon. Member for Hornchurch were also extremely important. I regard this power as necessary, but potentially invasive. I will consider the issues that he has raised regarding whether further oversight is needed. We have tried at every stage in the development of this to ensure that there is judicial oversight and that there are safeguards built into the legislation. It would be an arrogant Minister who, when asked to reconsider, just said no. I will look at it again. However, on the basis of my remarks, I ask the hon. Gentleman to consider withdrawing the amendment.

Photo of James Brokenshire James Brokenshire Shadow Minister (Home Affairs) 4:30 pm, 12th February 2009

I appreciate the Minister’s comments and his undertaking to review this proportionality test. We will obviously wait to see whether any progress is made. I beg to ask leave to withdraw the amendment.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.

Amendment made: 151, in clause 33, page 25, line 31, at end insert—

‘(3) After section 44 insert—

“44A Detention of property pending appeal

(1) This section applies where—

(a) a restraint order includes provision under section 41A authorising the detention of property, and

(b) the restraint order is discharged under section 42(5) or 43(3)(b).

(2) This section also applies where—

(a) a restraint order includes provision under section 41A authorising the detention of property, and

(b) the restraint order is varied under section 42(5) or 43(3)(b) so as to omit any such provision.

(3) The property may be detained until there is no further possibility of an appeal against—

(a) the decision to discharge or vary the restraint order, or

(b) any decision made on an appeal against that decision.”’.—(Mr. Coaker.)

Clause 33, as amended, ordered to stand part of the Bill.