Proceeds of Crime (POCA)

The Proceeds of Crime Act was introduced as a means of stripping criminals of their ill-gotten gains and was deliberately intended to be ‘draconian’ in nature. We are frequently instructed to assess cases where drug valuations are included in the benefit figure and are considered to be excessive.

Our expertise in drug valuations and drug distribution networks allows us to assess and comment upon POCA cases where drug valuations form part of the benefit figure. Prosecution cases are often based upon the “Street Value” achieved by a drug as reflecting the appropriate “Market Value”. The “Street Value” reflects the highest possible value that a drug will achieve but may not reflect the appropriate value where onward distribution was intended in larger quantities. If left unchallenged such valuations can result in excessive confiscation orders being applied.

It is increasingly common to encounter POCA proceedings being commenced following convictions for cannabis production. Perhaps surprisingly this is not simply restricted to large-scale set-ups and we have assessed many modest growing facilities where POCA has been instigated. In such cases the benefit derived is often inflated by an assumption based upon the development of previous crops. We are frequently able to highlight the absence of tangible evidence of previous crops and reduce valuations accordingly.

We are able to assess valuations in POCA cases and consider whether a more appropriate value should be applied based upon the wholesale value or valuations achieved at differing levels of the supply chain. In respect of drugs such as cocaine which are vulnerable to adulteration it is common for the value of the drug to be calculated after adulteration and a reduction in purity.

The imposition of large confiscation orders can have a significant impact on individuals and their families as they seek to discharge the order. Whatever the approach we are able to make a pragmatic and considered assessment of the valuations adopted. Our challenges can make significant differences and in a number of cases we have successfully reduced valuations and benefit figures by hundreds of thousands of pounds.