Sign in to follow this  
Followers 0
Irgendeiner

Poca, Another Viewpoint?

20 posts in this topic

In principle (even having been subject to it) the idea of POCA (if applied correctly) imo is a good one. I dont think many would argue with the idea of criminals not being allowed to profit from their crime and if they have that those profits should be returned. I for one dont want the local drug dealer to be encouraged by the fact that they can make huge profits, nestle them away and even if caught serve their sentence only to be returned to their former lifestyle or sports cars, flash properties etc. POCA if applied correctly is part of the punishment for the crime committed.

The issue I and many others have with POCA is how brutal and far reaching it is. I have seen over the years others be subject to POCA and comments about how those subject to it appear to have gotten off lightly. Examples of criminal benefit figures in the millions with the recoverable amount only in the thousands.

What many dont realise until subject to it is the noose POCA firmly places around the neck of anyone who has been subject to it. As an example my own criminal benefit figure was roughly £308,000. That amount doesnt relate to the profit I made from my business but the turnover. It doesnt make any allowance for the wages I paid my staff, the rents for the properties or the day to day business expenses incurred, like laundry, advertising, web hosting, telephones, photography etc. In fact in my own case my accounts and receipts of expenditure were used as direct evidence in order to calculate my criminal benefit figure, my turnover figure not profit.

Further to this and fairly so (again in applied correctly) any investments made using the proceeds of crime that have generated a profit are also added to the overall criminal benefit. For example I had a share in an investment property, the rent received for this property was added to my criminal benefit figure, again with no discounts made for mortgage costs incurred, agents fees, management fees or ground rent.

Once a criminal benefit figure has been ascertained the crown will then look at available assets and this is what many get confused with as will be down to the pounds and pence. Im my own case the recoverable amount was roughly £60,000 which was made up primarily of cash seized at arrest put aside to pay rents which were due, wages and of course the last 2 weeks takings that had not yet been paid out. The recoverable amount included the £18.32 I had in my halifax account, the £100 premium bond I used to hold, the value of my car if sold and any equity in my home etc. No allowances are made for keeping a roof over my or my children's heads, no allowances are made for any debts which may be held, credit card debt, or even tax liability. In fact Im still arguing with HMRC that I have no means to pay the £15,000 odd I owed them in tax for the previous tax year as have had everything I own confiscated by POCA. They dont care and will happily see me go bankrupt in order to clear the debt despite benefiting to a greater share by confiscation, they will happily take and expect the money twice. I say this not looking for sympathy but understanding. These amounts have to be paid to the crown and if that were where the matter ended again I would have a hard time myself arguing for any sympathy in relation to POCA, although I do find HMRC's position laughable.

What I find so wrong, not only in my own case but in any is that this is NOT where the matter ends. I have roughly £250,000 criminal benefit remaining. This debt isnt cleared once all of my assets have been taken, oh no. The crown have the power to re investigate my finances at any time they like, now or in the future and without notice. If at any time Im found to have recoverable assets to any value they seem worthwhile recovering I will find myself back in court having any further money I have legitimately earned confiscated. So you have to ask yourself whats the bloody point?

The joke is and Im not ashamed to admit it, I used to have a business, I created jobs and yes of course supported myself and my family. Some may have a moral objection to what I was doing but I tried to the best of my ability to keep the girls safe, limit the impact on the community by moving regularly, had a zero tolerance policy on drugs etc and even the courts had to accept those points and admit the business despite being illegal was well run. I never claimed benefits and paid my taxes (although my last tax bill remains a bone of contention). Now i live off the state, classified as a low income family no longer able to support myself or my family without assistance. I have had to move back in with my parents although would if I wanted to claim it be entitled to a council house. I fully understand that my situation doesn't necessarily apply to all POCA cases but you really do have to ask yourself sometimes what is the point? Is there really any point trying to re build my life or should I just accept my lot and continue to live off the system? After all if I rebuild my life, get any amount of savings, buy a new home (pipe dream but still an example) the crown can at any time take everything in lei of what they consider to be an outstanding debt.

And we wonder why so many criminals re offend? Perhaps because the system gives them no alternatives. For me my court case was a real wake up call to what's important in life, its so easy to get caught up with material possessions when in all seriousness Im just grateful to have my health and my family. Im unemployable now, who in their right mind would give a convicted criminal a job and what would honestly be the point in trying to support myself only to have it all taken away again?

Im not whining, I dont really see the point in that either but just thought it would be worth sharing my experience from the receiving end of a brutal piece of legislation and how it actually applies in life. I dont disagree with the principle of POCA and also realise that as a criminal the public with never have sympathy for my sort of case, they dont understand how it applies in real life nor do they, or should they care. What I find so wrong is that having committed a crime and been punished, by sentencing and POCA that surely there should be a point at which my punishment should be complete?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

My objection to POCA in relation to brothels is the police already know where these brothels are if they advertise and in some areas allow them to operate for years, so they have no problem allowing something illegal to exist but then for whatever reason raid and pursue under POCA. If that raid was rescuing trafficked or coerced women then of course thats good and just but thats not always the case as i have read.

So the brothel owner goes to court and tells the judge that the police had visited their brothel many times and hadnt closed it down or warned them to do so or be raided. The judge then sweeps that under the carpet and just says a brothel is illegal and you broke the law which is obviously true but the police didnt uphold the letter of the law previously. I find that all very odd as a lay person. I am also amazed the feminazis dont make a big thing of the police not upholding the law, they could easily petition the local MP and top cops and embarrass them into taking action or go to the press who no doubt would happily publish stories about the police not upholding the law. This remains a puzzle to me why it doesnt seem to happen a lot more.

With POCA the police now have an incentive to allow a brothel to open, operate for a while, make some money then raid and that force can directly benefit from some of the POCA proceeds.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I favour the concept that there should be no benefit to from criminal act that has been detected and results in a conviction. I also think there is some merit (though much danger) in requiring that unlikely and unexplained wealth should be explained.

My objection to POCA is the direct and immediate gain to the Police and CPS. I cannot rid myself of the suspicion that this has an effect both on the policy and at the operational level and leads to arbitrary and and inconsistent policing and prosecutions.

I would have more confidence in both Policing and the policy of prosecution if the proceeds were used to support efforts to "get tough on the causes of crime".

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Sasha, thank you for writing this out so clearly and intelligently.

So many times there is a good idea, and then it gets carried too far and hurts people who really do not deserve it.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

very well written Sacha , you have educated me on POCA and I think you have been very harshly treated by 'the authorities'

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Just had to pop in and have another little rant. I opened a letter today... from Rossendales who act on behalf of the legal aid commission asking for over £15500 within 28 days to settle my defence costs. Its anything but funny but have to laugh as its so damb ridiculous you honestly wonder what these people have been smoking. So.... apparently its taken over 18 months since my sentencing and a year since confiscation to work out what my defence costs were from my hearing and as I was deemed at the time (and before POCA) to have over £30,000 of assets I have to pay the full cost of my defence.

Its another one of those situations that you would assume were simple as I have nothing left and live on bloody benefits now but it looks like this is another argument pending a fight. It turns out that as my partner who also had (before POCA) over £30,000 of equity in his house and who was left with a small amount post POCA (not taking into account personal and credit card debts accumulated while trying to survive as not eligible for benefits), he could now find himself liable for MY defence costs.

This has only happened today so outcome is still obviously pending but it looks like the assessment is made based on the application and disclosure of assets at the time. So despite the fact that he now has nothing left (he had to sell everything in order to pay off debt accumulated supporting a family with 2 young kids whilst awaiting trial, with all your assets frozen and deemed ineligible for benefits) could find himself with a bill for over £15500 to pay within 28 days?!?!?!?

Seriously you couldnt make this stuff up but WTF! Seriously someone KILL ME NOW I must have been Hitler in a former life and despite what they say, its bollocks, what doesnt kill you doesnt make you stronger, it just makes you want to top yourself!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Its another one of those situations that you would assume were simple as I have nothing left and live on bloody benefits now

I confess to not having read the whole story, but it seems to me that in this case POCA has resulted in the rest of us, i.e.taxpayers,picking up the bill.

This does not sound like joined up thinking.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

when you read about this and the way that the police are so brave in targetting soft targets like brothels, i have to admit that i don't have too much sympathy for the shooting dead of two police officers in manchester, the only sympathy i have is that they were women who were murdered

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I should clarify that this isnt a POCA measure. I have been punished by POCA and all of my assets confiscated. This current headache is born from the legal services commission. Because all of our assets were frozen prior to our case and my partner put out of business (legitimate business) we qualified for legal aid. It didnt seem relevant at the time as we had no means to pay so seemed only natural that we would get legal aid and having had all of my assets confiscated didnt cross my mind that 18 months after sentencing they might come back wanting money. We were not apportioned any costs in court as it was agreed we wouldnt have the means to pay at the time and at no time since our case have we had any notice that we might still be liable for our defence costs until yesterday.

It now turns out that despite being granted legal aid with a nil contribution because we had no means to pay because we had "at the time" over £30,000 in capital assets (e.g. equity in your home) they can make you pay for your legal defence from your capital assets. Im my case its a joke as being subject to POCA I have literally nothing left. However in my partners case he was left with a small amount of money after POCA as he was able to prove that all but a small amount of his money was from his legitimate business. It wasnt something we were celebrating at the time as despite him technically having some money left this money was obviously absorbed once he started clearing the debts we had accumulated throughout the course of our case, historical income tax and previous credit card debts. Because we had assets (albeit frozen) and were not actively seeking employed work while our case was going on we didnt qualify for any benefits of financial support. In other words we lived off of credit cards and borrowed money for 18 months once charged until after sentencing. This meant that any money left was gone once these debts were paid and as such he now has nothing left either.

Despite this I was told yesterday that the assessment is made on the basis of your assets at the time and as Michaels assets prior to POCA exceeded £30,000 and POCA didnt take all if his money the legal services commission have the right to demand that he pay MY defence costs from whatever he has left as he is my partner. As the assessment is made on figures declared "at the time" the fact that this money has now gone doesnt appear to have any relevance. Where they think we are going to find over £15500 in 28 days is literally beyond me, its not even funny. I literally cant believe that they can come back after 18 months with no warning. We have paid our confiscation amounts and our bank accounts have finally been released from restraint. We finally thought we could start to put this whole sorry matter behind us and now this.

Im not married to my partner, I have no legal claim on any of his assets (if he had any) so how on earth can the legal services commission make him pay for my defence out of his capital assets at the time of our case despite the fact that he no longer has them, its seems utter madness. My partner and I are on rocky ground as it is, we are still together for the kids but I cant imagine how much longer thats going to last, I honestly think this would be the final straw.

I should also clarify that I dont live entirely on benefits, we are reliant on working and child tax credits in order to survive as neither of our incomes are enough to support our family and as such we are deemed a low income family. We are trying to re build our lives but I swear I must have been Hitler in a former life as things like this keep coming back to bite us. Right the way down to increased insurance costs, half the car insurers wont insure us with a criminal records... not because of the brothel keeping but because money laundering is classified as fraud and we were charged with both. You do honestly wonder why anyone would bother trying to get back on there feet. We would be better off on pure benefits and would even be entitled to a council house but it goes against the grain. I never claimed a penny and used to be able to support my family. Now it seems the system wont leave us rest until they have had not just all our money but my sanity too

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Example of a potty system assess the assets, but then each bill is based on those assets without taking the other into account.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

sashab, you have a right to claim full benefits as its the govt who has povertised you, claim for anything and everything as thats why you paid taxes in the first place, its not your fault you are having to claim, its the govts fault

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Once a criminal benefit figure has been ascertained the crown will then look at available assets and this is what many get confused with as will be down to the pounds and pence. Im my own case the recoverable amount was roughly £60,000 which was made up primarily of cash seized at arrest put aside to pay rents which were due, wages and of course the last 2 weeks takings that had not yet been paid out. The recoverable amount included the £18.32 I had in my halifax account, the £100 premium bond I used to hold, the value of my car if sold and any equity in my home etc. No allowances are made for keeping a roof over my or my children's heads, no allowances are made for any debts which may be held, credit card debt, or even tax liability. In fact Im still arguing with HMRC that I have no means to pay the £15,000 odd I owed them in tax for the previous tax year as have had everything I own confiscated by POCA. They dont care and will happily see me go bankrupt in order to clear the debt despite benefiting to a greater share by confiscation, they will happily take and expect the money twice. I say this not looking for sympathy but understanding. These amounts have to be paid to the crown and if that were where the matter ended again I would have a hard time myself arguing for any sympathy in relation to POCA, although I do find HMRC's position laughable.

So the brothel owner goes to court and tells the judge that the police had visited their brothel many times and hadnt closed it down or warned them to do so or be raided. The judge then sweeps that under the carpet and just says a brothel is illegal and you broke the law which is obviously true but the police didnt uphold the letter of the law previously. I find that all very odd as a lay person. I am also amazed the feminazis dont make a big thing of the police not upholding the law, they could easily petition the local MP and top cops and embarrass them into taking action or go to the press who no doubt would happily publish stories about the police not upholding the law. This remains a puzzle to me why it doesnt seem to happen a lot more.....!!!!!!!!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
So the brothel owner goes to court and tells the judge that the police had visited their brothel many times and hadnt closed it down or warned them to do so or be raided. The judge then sweeps that under the carpet and just says a brothel is illegal and you broke the law which is obviously true but the police didnt uphold the letter of the law previously. I find that all very odd as a lay person. I am also amazed the feminazis dont make a big thing of the police not upholding the law, they could easily petition the local MP and top cops and embarrass them into taking action or go to the press who no doubt would happily publish stories about the police not upholding the law. This remains a puzzle to me why it doesnt seem to happen a lot more.....!!!!!!!!

Simply put the law is an ass. For those that sat through my abuse of hearing case many found their jaws on the floor with what the police got away with. Using threat to life to enter a property 8 hours after the incident springs to mind. The cynic in me considers they needed to enter the property in order to ascertain it was a brothel in order to justify arrest, but that's just the cynic in me speaking.

An update to anyone else who was following previously, it only took 2 and a half months of daily phone calls from the debt collectors threatening bailiff action against me to recover my legal defence costs but the legal services commission finally dropped their claim for just short of £16,000 when someone finally decided to read my confiscation order and realised that surprise, surprise I was broke, lol.

Have to say it was a pleasure to have the 1st Christmas in 4 to not have the weight of the world hanging over my head be it pending prosecution, pending court dates, pending confiscation. Here is to 2013 being a good year for everyone :-)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

it does'nt suprise me how corrupt the police and authorities are, just look at news international bribing police & hacking phones of children, and the corrupt met tried to cover it up, i just wonder how much corruption goes unnoticed

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I have no problem with the police reclaiming proceeds of crime if a person has benefited financially from their crimes.What I don't agree with is police allowing people to carry on breaking the law, lulling them into a false sense of security unless it's because they wish to gather more evidence. Visiting an existing brothel isn't doing this as it's pretty obvious they know what is going on. The other issue is the really stupid one of taking the proceeds but not allowing access to pay the tax owed on those assets. Completely pointless where a person has no surplus with which to pay the tax owing and from what I see can only then lead to further costs to the authorities (namely HMRC) when they try to chase this money which cannot be paid.

Pointless exercise and a waste of resources.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

This case has no connection whatsoever with prostitution, but, to me, it is another pointer to the misuse of POCA (and similar) legislation. The overview of the history of the legislation at the beginning of the main judgment is particularly helpful.

The case is R v Weya, which you can read or download at http://www.bailii.or...2012/51.html

Edited by Irgendeiner

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Here is the latest available breakdown, by primary offence type, of confiscation orders made during the course of one year (between 01/04/2012 and 31/03/2013) and the current amount paid against those impositions as of 16/01/2015.

 

http://www.parliament.uk/business/publications/written-questions-answers-statements/written-question/Commons/2015-01-15/220978/

 

For Pimps and Brothels / Prostitution / Pornography the figure is £ 965,260.92

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
  • That's quite an interesting list, cheers Carnival.

I notice that the Pimps and Brothels / Prostitution / Pornography one is the only one that contains activities that are not illegal. So why are they included? Also that this category accounts for 8/10ths of 1% of the total, which isn't too different from the official proportion of GDP made up from prostitution alone which is around 5/10ths of 1%.

 

The clawback from people trafficking was less than 300k. Either traffickers don't make much money or it operates at a much lower level than the hysterical Jim Wells / Paul Givan types would have you believe.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

 

I notice that the Pimps and Brothels / Prostitution / Pornography one is the only one that contains activities that are not illegal. So why are they included?

 

Well, brothels are illegal, controlling for gain (pimps) is illegal, and although prostitution itself is not illegal, many activities associated with it are and I imagine these have been lumped together under that heading. I'm not an expert in pornography but I suspect that some types of it are illegal. Perhaps one of our legally experienced members could comment on that.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!


Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.


Sign In Now
Sign in to follow this  
Followers 0