Orders for forfeiture of articles involved in offences
As well as the power to fine and imprison, courts have the power under the Criminal Assets Confiscation Act 2005 (SA) to order the forfeiture of articles involved in the offences (for example, drugs or pipes), property acquired for the purpose of committing the offence (for example, land to grow cannabis commercially, equipment to irrigate, trucks to transport) or the proceeds or profits from the offence. If a serious drug offence has occurred (such as trade), any tainted property may be forfeited.
Assets may be forfeited if acquired with proceeds of offence
Assets may also be taken if they have been acquired from the proceeds of an offence. Where it is not possible to tell the extent of the contribution from the proceeds of offences, the whole of the tainted property can be forfeited. Where an innocent person has an interest in the same property the court may order that the person be compensated. Property (such as the family home or car) might not be forfeited if it would cause disproportionate hardship to innocent people. The court might also allow access to restrained funds for payment of reasonable legal costs.
Power to freeze assets
Even before a person is convicted of an offence, courts have the power to prevent any disposal or dealing in the property which is reasonably suspected of being liable to forfeiture, until the question of forfeiture is decided (a restraining order) [Criminal Assets Confiscation Act 2005 (SA) s 24].
Disposing of property the subject of an order a further offence
Any attempt to then dispose of the property is an offence which is punishable by a maximum fine of $20 000 or imprisonment for four years [Criminal Assets Confiscation Act 2005 (SA) s 33].
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