POCA Success: No Criminal Lifestyle Results in £32k Reduction
In 2019, our client pleaded guilty to producing cannabis. After a fact-finding hearing, the Court accepted that it could not be sure that he was commercially cultivating cannabis.
During the confiscation proceedings, the Crown alleged that our client ‘benefitted’ to the sum of £52.5k. This included the value of the adult cannabis plants (£18k) and growing equipment (£2k). Our client accepted these two figures but denied that the Court could assume £32.4k of ‘unidentified’ deposits paid into his bank accounts over the preceding 6 years were the result of a ‘criminal lifestyle’.
Our client had equity in his home address far greater than £52.5k, which meant the onus was very much on us to reduce this benefit figure.
We were able to provide documentary evidence to show that transactions totalling £14k were the result either of our client’s employment during this period or were provided to him by friends. Our client and his father gave evidence before Chelmsford Crown Court about the remaining transactions.
As a result of the weight of compelling evidence we had presented, the Court found in our client’s favour and disapplied the criminal lifestyle assumption. This is a rare outcome in confiscation proceedings and one with which our client was extremely pleased.
David Bloom was the solicitor with conduct of this confiscation matter. He was assisted by Eleanor Myers and instructed Mr Leon Lynch of 25 Bedford Row as Counsel.