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Author Topic: (criminal?) assets confiscation  (Read 2232 times)

Riff-Raff

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(criminal?) assets confiscation
« on: August 08, 2010, 04:19:47 PM »

The following is an article from Adelaidenow, with comments supplied by Paul Kuhn, FREE AUSTRALIA PARTY Leader/spokesperson

www.adelaidenow.com.au/news/south-australia/net-closes-on-kingpin-millions/story-e6frea83-1225902531484
Net closes on kingpin millions

    * NIGEL HUNT
    * From: Sunday Mail (SA)
    * August 07, 2010 10:04PM

 

POLICE have identified 30 criminal kingpins who will be the first targets of a law that will strip them of millions of dollars in unexplained wealth.

Many of the criminal "untouchables" are key figures in organised crime in South Australia, while others are closely associated with bikie gangs, or once were before they "legitimised" their business activities.

In many cases the police targets have significant asset holdings that are often held at arm's length - either by family members or in complex company or trust structures - aimed at concealing their true ownership.

The Sunday Mail   is aware of one former gang member who has, over the past 20 years, amassed a residential property portfolio worth more than $20 million. But police will not comment on the identity of any individuals whose finances are likely to be scrutinised.
The Serious and Organised Crime (Unexplained Wealth) Act - the latest piece of legislation aimed at tackling organised crime in South Australia - will come into effect on August 29.

Assistant Commissioner (Crime) Tony Harrison said police were "well advanced" in their planning.

 The 30 individuals were identified when detectives conducted a "preliminary scan" to provide the first opportunities to apply the new laws.

"It has identified people who, through serious and organised crime investigations, have come to our notice," Mr Harrison said.

"They are offenders who have in some cases been somewhat untouchable, but they are very much involved in organising, planning and facilitating serious organised crime.

"Often they are what is referred to as the upper echelon of criminals who are responsible for planning and organising, but invariably don't put their hands directly on the drugs, contraband or the money. But they certainly are the recipients of the profits of the criminality."

Mr Harrison said some of the 30 individuals identified in the scan have featured "significantly" in serious organised crime investigations over many years.

"A number are associated with outlaw motorcycle gangs, but a number are also key players in serious organised crime enterprises involved in the whole spectrum of offending ranging from drugs, extortions, frauds and so on. They dabble in any opportunity to make money."

In many cases the individuals have been using the proceeds of crime to "maintain and support a lifestyle of expensive houses and cars, together with providing opportunities to finance further criminal enterprises".

Under the Act the Crown Solicitor makes an application to the District Court for an order against an individual, who will be deemed to have unexplained wealth if the value of their proven wealth exceeds their lawfully obtained wealth.

"If a person cannot prove they legitimately came across their wealth we can make an application to the court to have the difference taken away," Mr Harrison said.

The new law will complement existing conviction based confiscation of assets laws which last financial year resulted in property worth $9.17 million being restrained. Forfeiture orders worth $1.5 million were also granted in the same period, which involved real estate, boats and cars.

Attorney-General John Rau said the new laws could only be used against those who met certain criteria, such as having been convicted of a serious offence, being subject to a control order under the Serious and Organised Crime (Control) Act or are suspected on reasonable grounds of involvement in organised crime. In those instances the Director of Public Prosecutions has to authorise the action after scrutinising a police application.

"The difference between this new law and the Criminal Assets Confiscation Act 2005 which allows for the proceeds of crime to be forfeited to the State, is that the Crown no longer has to prove that a defendant is involved in criminal activity or that a particular asset is linked to a particular crime," Mr Rau said.

"Instead, the onus will be on the person or organisation to prove that their wealth has been lawfully acquired."

 

 

Paul's comments.

This is another law that removes the assumption of innocence and says you are guilty  up front. YOU have to prove your innocence or in this particular example your legitimacy. I am not defending or condoning criminal activities, but this is the wrong way to go about it. I know first hand of a friend who has already been targeted by similar legislation and despite proving his house was paid for over 25 years of work he had to fight all the way to the Supreme Court to have the orders for forfeiture revoked. These laws are sick and WILL have unexpected victims. His minor criminal matter was dealt with, THEN the DPP went for his legally obtained assets. THATS what Rann and Co want to do - seize your assets for ANY excuse. Why do you think speeding for example is now a criminal offence? Because under these laws the DPP can make application to seize your house as it was used to support criminal activity because thats where you park your car.. Oh yes. Thats how far they will go. Already SAPOLCOM has said he could use the bikie laws to get the Agape church.  So called tough on crime is one thing but going above and beyond, that is another. Just another way to line the government coffers.

 

But THIS act of the SA government is simply sick. It assumes guilt by an act of legislation then proceeds to make forfeiture of all your assets.  Again, act of Attainder comes to mind.

I make reference to the new changes of the laws to make previously non-criminal matters now criminal, such as speeding (above 30kph over the posted sign). Yes, it is a somewhat tenuous connection to say that the DPP can then apply to have your house seized, but the legal loophole now exists for exactly that to happen. (Criminal Assets Confiscation Act that replaces the Proceeds of Crime Act). Proof of criminal activity is no longer required.

Which makes the assumption at law, GUILTY under these Acts. You have to prove your innocence in these things, which is ridiculously difficult if you have your bank accounts frozen/seized, your house has a lien on it and so forth. You cant hire a lawyer because you can't raise any money!

Yes, I'm mad about this because they are wrong. Despite the best of intentions (although I have my personal doubts about that too) too many innocent people will be caught up in this.

I can't recall who made the famous quote"

"I would rather 10 guilty men go free than 1 innocent man incarcerated".

How true. These types of laws do not give an innocent a chance and that "first determination" will be made by POLICE officers!!  After that determination, YOU have to prove your innocence, that your house etc is legal and so forth. That will come at great expense and once you prove your innocence, you will NOT be able to claim compensation for your costs. stress and worries. That is of course IF you can prove your innocence - how many of you have -all- your bank records of income and mortgage payments?

This comes down to the word of a police officer against you. You are then automatically guilty and have virtually no defence. And just to top this little gem off, SA does not have an ICAC..

Australia does not have ANY rights afforded to its citizens, as in we are the ONLY western nation that does not have a Bill of Rights. We have NO protection at law in this nation.  Thats why laws like these will run rampant, it will set us up as a police state and it is creating a great rift between people and government .

We need, desperately, some form of Bill of Rights at a constitutional level. Then these types of laws will in themselves have legitimacy because we are protected, but until then, these laws would make the likes of Robert Mugabe proud!

My comments.

Paul Kuhn
FREE Spokesperson and Party Leader
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