Benefit figure reduced by over £1.2 million in Confiscation Proceedings

Amy Cox

26 March 2024

After a hearing at Luton Crown Court, our client’s benefit figure and available amount for his confiscation order were settled in the sum of £17,500. The Prosecution initially put forward a £1.3 million benefit figure, and an available amount to include the equity in our client’s family-owned property, a sum of £225,000.

Our client was arrested in 2020 and charged in 2021 in relation to supply of class A drugs. The case involved complex evidence including encrochat mobile phones. Our client pleaded guilty, and confiscation proceedings were initiated against him.

We prepared and submitted legal argument on behalf of our client as to whether the benefit figure should relate to the full value of the drugs in the conspiracy, or to the wages our client was shown to be receiving in the encrochat messages for working as a courier and warehouser.

The Prosecution also sought to apply the criminal lifestyle assumptions to over £100,000 worth of cash credits and transfers into our client’s bank account. We analysed the Prosecutions’ assertions regarding transfers into our client’s account and provided detailed explanations and breakdowns in response.

We instructed a forensic accountant and a drugs expert, and prepared a bundle of material comprising of over 28 items, including 11 witness statements. Our client’s father was a third party to the proceedings, having contributed towards the purchase price of the family property. He was represented by JMW Solicitors and Barnaby Hone of 5 St Andrew’s Hill and sought to prove his share in the home which had not been recognised by the prosecution.

This case has been hanging over our client for four years. Facing a £1.3 million benefit figure, our client risked losing his property and future income. At Court, a figure of £17,500 was negotiated with the Prosecution and agreed by the Court. It was agreed that this was not to come from the equity of the property.

Our client, his partner, and his father were thoroughly relieved with the outcome. His partner commented that they “now have a future”, with our client expressing that “a heavy weight has been lifted off of [his] shoulders.”

Amy Cox prepared this case. She was assisted by Annie Loh. Oliver Renton of Crucible Law was the instructed barrister from 2021.

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