Senate Passes Proceeds of Crime Act


The Senate yesterday (Feb. 23) passed the Proceeds of Crime Act, which will provide for the forfeiture through the courts, of properties and accumulated wealth, which cannot be explained by legitimate activity.
The Act, which repeals and replaces the Drug Offences (Forfeiture of Proceeds) and Money Laundering Acts, will also support efforts to fight organized crime and to ensure that persons engaged in criminal activities do not profit from their illegal activities.
Attorney General and Minister of Justice, Senator A.J. Nicholson, said that the legislation will “provide for a more comprehensive and effective scheme for the forfeiture of the proceeds of crime and the prevention of money laundering”.
In explaining the nature of the attorney-client privilege in the Bill, Senator Nicholson said that the legislation recognized “legal advice privilege, which may exist independent of any litigation, and attaches to all communication made in confidence between attorney and client for the purpose of giving and obtaining legal advice; and litigation privilege, which relates to communication at the stage when litigation is in existence, or it is in contemplation”.
He noted however, that the “provisions confirm that the privilege will not protect information or material held by a lawyer, where non-disclosure would promote a criminal purpose”.
“This attorney-client relationship in relation to this Bill is of the utmost importance and it is in the interest of certainty that the legislation sets out the parameters of legal professional privilege. It is imperative that attorneys and clients know the situations where the privileges apply,” stressed the Senator.
In the meantime, Opposition Senator Colonel Trevor MacMillan expressed his strong support of the legislation. “I think this Bill is overdue and I sincerely hope that when it is passed, we have the resources allocated so that in fact, it can make an impact on the problem of crime. We have too may Acts in our books now where reinforcement is not as strong as it could be,” he said.

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