POCA Success: No Criminal Lifestyle Results in £32K Reduction
Leon Lynch was instructed by David Bloom & Eleanor Myers of Sonn Macmillan Walker in this matter.
In 2019, our client pleaded guilty to producing cannabis. After a fact-finding hearing, the Court accepted that it could not be sure that he was commercially cultivating cannabis.
During the confiscation proceedings, the Crown alleged that our client ‘benefitted’ to the sum of £52.5k. This included the value of the adult cannabis plants (£18k) and growing equipment (£2k). Our client accepted these two figures but denied that the Court could assume £32.4k of ‘unidentified’ deposits paid into his bank accounts over the preceding 6 years were the result of a ‘criminal lifestyle’.
Our client had equity in his home address far greater than the alleged benefit figure, which meant the onus was very much on us to reduce the benefit figure.
We were able to provide documentary evidence to show that transactions totalling £14k were the result either of our client’s employment during this period or were provided to him by friends. Our client and his father gave evidence at the contest hearing before Chelmsford Crown Court about the remaining transactions.
As a result of the weight of compelling evidence we had cogently present, the Court found in our client’s favour and disapplied the criminal lifestyle assumptions. This is a rare outcome in confiscation proceedings.