Changes to Sentences in Default Sentences (Confiscation and POCA)
When a court issues a confiscation order for the payment of a certain amount, it is required to establish a specific time frame within which the payment must be made. Additionally, the court must also define a “default sentence” that will be imposed in case the payment is not made within the specified time.
Under the current rules, a defendant is granted a maximum of 3 months to make the payment, with the possibility of applying for an extension of up to 3 more months. During this period, no interest is accrued on the outstanding amount, and the default sentence cannot be activated.
The default sentence duration is determined based on the amount of the order to be repaid, as follows:
The activation of the default sentence can only take place during an Enforcement Hearing, presided over by the Magistrates Court. The court has the authority to either adjourn the hearing or activate the default sentence. The hearing can only be scheduled after the payment deadline has expired, and it is mandatory for the defendant to be present.
Any activated default sentence is served as an additional consecutive sentence to the one the defendant is already serving. For those ordered to pay £1 million or more and who receive a default sentence between 7 and 14 years, they must serve the entirety of the default sentence without the possibility of early release.
A default sentence remains in effect until the outstanding amount is paid off or if the original confiscation order is successfully appealed, in which case the default sentence may be reduced.
The comprehensive work authored by Narita Bahra QC, John Townsend, and David Winch ‘A Practical Guide to Confiscation and Restraint,’ provides a valuable insight into this topic. For those interested in the subject matter, read a free chapter today. This chapter provides a brief outline of the fundamentals of confiscation, you can access the chapter by clicking on the following link: http://www.lawbriefpublishing.com/2022/02/free-chapter-from-a-practical-guide-to-confiscation-and-restraint-by-narita-bahra-qc-david-winch-john-carl-townsend/