New Judgment: R v Ahmad & Anor; R v Fields & Ors  UKSC 36
18 Wednesday Jun 2014
The defendants challenge the decisions of the Court of Appeal that they each should be separately liable for the whole of the amount held to be recoverable in confiscation proceedings. Held: the confiscation orders made in respect of each defendant should be amended to provide that they can be enforced only to the extent that the same sum has not been recovered through another confiscation order made in relation to the same joint benefit. However, the orders should not be amended to apportion the benefit between the respective defendants. The enforcement of an order for the confiscation of proceeds of crime that have already been paid to the state would violate Article 1 of the First Protocol the ECHR. When considering an application for a confiscation order, in determining whether a defendant has “benefited” from criminal conduct, where property is obtained as a result of a joint criminal exercise, it will often be appropriate for a court to hold that each of the conspirators “obtained” the whole of that property. However, where the evidence discloses separate obtainings, the judge should make that finding.