Clause 7 - Confiscation of assets

Part of Modern Slavery Bill – in a Public Bill Committee at 10:15 am on 9 September 2014.

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Photo of Karen Bradley Karen Bradley The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for the Home Department 10:15, 9 September 2014

I thank my right hon. Friend for his contribution. It is useful to see the reparation order as an incentive to give evidence, which will help victims to have the confidence to give the evidence that is needed to get prosecutions. I will cogitate on my right hon. Friend’s point.

My hon. Friend the Member for Enfield, Southgate asked whether the court could consider the victim impact statement. Clause 9(3) allows the court to consider evidence when setting a level of compensation, which could include victim impact statements or evidence about health problems.

A question was asked about the time limits for reparation orders. There is no time limit on making reparation orders, and confiscation orders can be made or varied after the fact. If more assets are discovered later, the court can increase the value of the reparation order to reflect the new information.

On clause 7, the shadow Minister asked about the test for restraint of assets. In the Serious Crime Bill we intend to reduce the test from a reasonable cause to believe that the defendant has benefitted from criminal conduct to a reasonable suspicion. We believe that will allow restraint orders for freezing assets to be applied for at an earlier stage of an investigation.

I hope I have covered all the points that were made. If I have not, I will write to the Committee to clarify any points I have not covered. Given the welcome that the shadow Minister gave to the clauses, I hope the Committee will accept them.