On 20 February 2020, the Confiscation of Criminal Assets (Unexplained Wealth) Amendment Bill 2020 (the “Bill”) was presented to ACT’s Legislative Assembly (the “Assembly”) by Gordon Ramsay MLA (the Attorney-General). The Bill is currently before the Assembly.
The Bill proposes extensive amendments to the Confiscation of Criminal Assets Act 2003 (ACT).
The Bill’s Explanatory Statement (the “ES”) indicates that the Bill proposes the establishment of a local “unexplained wealth scheme for the ACT”. The purpose of introducing such a scheme, according to the ES is “to more effectively deter and disrupt serious criminal activity, including organised crime, and ensure those involved in such crime do not profit from their illegal activities.”
In aof February 2020, the Minister said:
In September 2019, the Justice and Community Safety Directorate engaged Dr Terry Goldsworthy to undertake an independent review of the effectiveness of ACT police powers to target, disrupt, investigate and prosecute criminal gang members. A key purpose of the review was to meet the statutory obligation for the Attorney-General to examine the operation of the crime scene powers in Division 10.4A of the Crimes Act 1900 (ACT) as soon as practicable after the end of the first year of operation of that division.
On 6 December 2019, Dr Goldsworthy finalised a report on the findings and recommendations of the review, with the Attorney-General tabling thein the Assembly on 20 February 2020.
As indicated in theto the Review:
The Bill, according to the ES, proposes the introduction of two types of orders which can be sought in relation to instances of unexplained wealth:
The Minister commented in his second reading speech that the Bill is one of many measures taken by the ACT Government to target and disrupt serious and organised crime. In the Minister's view, unexplained wealth legislation "strike[s] at the heart of serious criminal offending" by allowing the seizure, restraint and forfeiture of the assets of those who cannot prove that their wealth was not the result of serious criminal activity.
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Confiscation of Criminal Assets (Unexplained Wealth) Amendment Bill 2020 [ACT] - Bill and supporting material available from TimeBase's LawOne Service
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