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Successful POCA Challenge in Cannabis Production Case

Apr 21, 2017

Challenge to Evidence of Previous Cannabis Crops Successful as POCA Benefit Figure Reduced.

A conviction for cannabis production is a "trigger" offence under the Proceeds of Crime Act.  Even if production was intended simply for personal use the CPS can request POCA proceedings to commence.  In cases assessed under the Proceeds of Crime Act it is common for Financial Investigators to include assumptions of "previous crops".  The value of the existing crop can be multiplied several times with little or no evidence to support the assertion and even a fairly modest cannabis cultivation set-up can lead to significant benefit figures being claimed as arising. 

In this case we were asked to consider the value of a crop of cannabis which had just been harvested.  It was immediately apparent that the crop had not been properly weighed and a significant part of the value had been added as the trim, leaf and stalk material had been included in the value.  The evidence of "previous crops" was limited to a few root balls discovered in the garden and it was apparent was from the existing crop rather than evidence of ten previous crops stretching back several years. We challenged the assumptions with it claimed that cannabis with a value in excess of £365,000 had been produced.  Our evidence was finally accepted and the benefit reduced to less than £33,000.

This challenge highlights the benefit of questioning drug valuations in such matters.  If you need assistance in a case then please contact us: Cannabis Cultivation Expert