Confiscation issues aired

The confiscation of assets in money-laundering cases was discussed last week in the matter of Patrick Thomas Tibbetts, who was sentenced last year to three years imprisonment.

Tibbetts was found guilty of assisting two key Cash4Titles to retain the proceeds of criminal conduct. At the time of sentence, the Crown indicated an intention to apply for confiscation of his assets. One property mentioned was Tibbetts’ share in Fidel Murphy’s Irish Pub and Restaurant.

The application was adjourned because Tibbetts appealed his conviction. The Court of Appeal upheld his conviction and sentence (Caymanian Compass, 20 November).

Last Thursday, Defence Attorney Simon Dickson addressed Chief Justice Anthony Smellie on Tibbetts’ behalf.

He said it had always been the Defence intention to invite the court to use its discretion not to make a confiscation order.

He quoted from a case before the UK Court of Appeal in which a decision had been handed down this past 17 March.

Under UK legislation, the purpose of a confiscation order was two-fold, Mr. Dixon summarised. It was to deprive the defendant of the proceeds of criminal conduct and remove those proceeds from possible future criminal enterprise.

The purpose of a confiscation order is not punishment but prevention — preventing the convicted person from living off the proceeds or using the profits for further criminal conduct, Mr. Dickson argued.

It is not for the Crown to be enriched simply because of a conviction of an individual under the Proceeds of Criminal Conduct Law, he added.

The Chief Justice said he would have to adjourn the hearing and consider the UK judgment very carefully, as it seemed to involve a distinction between reward and benefit.

Reward would be what the individual defendant received by way of commission, salary or fee, Mr. Dickson explained later. Benefit would be the total value of the criminal enterprise over which the defendant exercised some control.

Solicitor General Cheryll Richards said she would want to look at the judgment more carefully and check any other recent cases. She agreed with the Chief Justice that a serious matter of principle was involved.

The principle would apply to other confiscation applications as well as this one, she indicated.

That led to the mention of Raymond Frank Creed, whose sentencing for money laundering had been adjourned the previous week, also because of questions related to confiscation of assets.

Because of other commitments, the Chief Justice asked Mr. Dickson and Ms Richards to arrange a date with the Listing Officer for Tibbetts’ matter to continue. It was later put to Tuesday, 6 June.

Creed will be returning to court on 26 May, as required by his conditions of bail, but his sentencing has been adjourned until Wednesday, 31 May.

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