Clause 188 - Enforcement as fines etc

Part of Proceeds of Crime Bill – in a Public Bill Committee am 12:45 pm ar 11 Rhagfyr 2001.

Danfonwch hysbysiad imi am ddadleuon fel hyn

Photo of Bob Ainsworth Bob Ainsworth The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for the Home Department 12:45, 11 Rhagfyr 2001

I sincerely hope that I shall be able to do as the hon. Gentleman asks.

The clause provides that confiscation orders, as at present, will continue to be enforced as Crown court fines. Subsection (2) requires the Crown court, as in England and Wales, to set a term of imprisonment in default of payment when it makes a confiscation order. The maximum default term that may be imposed is determined by the size of the confiscation order. Such matters are prescribed in statute. There is no difference in the maximum default term applicable between the various United Kingdom jurisdictions. Accordingly, in each of the various United Kingdom jurisdictions, a confiscation order will be treated in the same way as a fine in the relevant jurisdiction.

One of the main differences between England and Wales and Northern Ireland is that Crown court fines in Northern Ireland are not enforced through the magistrates court. That results in some differences between the two jurisdictions in the powers of enforcement available. The main difference is that, when default occurs, no further assessment of the defendant's means to pay is held by the Northern Ireland court, as the means assessment will have to be made when the sentence is first imposed.

The main burden of enforcing such orders will continue to fall on the main prosecuting authority in Northern Ireland, the Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions. However, when the director is appointed as the enforcement authority, the responsibility will fall on the Assets Recovery Agency. The Crown court will continue to have the power to allow payment by instalments, but when the defendant defaults on one instalment, he will be treated as having defaulted on all outstanding instalments. As in England and Wales, subsection (3) ensures that parents and guardians cannot be required to pay an amount due under a confiscation order made against a young person. I hope that the hon. Gentleman is reassured that the problem to which he referred will not apply to confiscation orders.