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No Article 6 Protection in Civil Asset Recovery Proceedings

In Gale and another v serious Organised Crime Agency 2011  UKsC 49 the supreme Court was asked to consider the application of Article 6 to Part 5 civil recovery proceedings under the Proceeds of Crime Act 2002. Mr and Mrs Gale had been made the subject of a civil recovery order at first instance by Griffith Williams J. As part of its case, sOCA had relied upon an acquittal of Mr Gale for drug trafficking in Portugal and discontinued proceedings for similar offences in spain. On appeal, they sought to argue that in spite of the clear language of section 241(3) POCA 2002 providing sOCA need only prove ˜unlawful conduct to the civil standard of proof; such provision was incompatible with Article 6. This argument was rejected by the Court of Appeal and Mr and Mrs Gale appealed to the supreme Court. Their Lordships also rejected this argument holding that there was no link between the Portuguese criminal proceedings and the English civil proceedings such that was necessary to engage Article 6(2). Thus, it was lawful to rely on evidence given in proceedings which resulted in acquittal when making a claim for a Part 5 civil recovery order and the test to be applied in determining such claims was the civil standard in accordance with the express statutory provision in section 241(3) POCA 2002.


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