BBC Homepage World Service Education
BBC Homepagelow graphics version | feedback | help
BBC News Online
 You are in: UK: Scotland
Front Page 
World 
UK 
England 
Northern Ireland 
Scotland 
Wales 
UK Politics 
Business 
Sci/Tech 
Health 
Education 
Entertainment 
Talking Point 
In Depth 
AudioVideo 

Friday, 20 October, 2000, 06:24 GMT 07:24 UK
Pledge on criminal assets crackdown
Drugs bags
Police and customs officers will get more powers
The UK Government has pledged to forge ahead with plans to introduce tough new laws to seize criminal assets in the next parliamentary session.

The plans will be brought forward despite a court ruling in Scotland which found that current procedures breached the European Convention on Human Rights.

The setback came last week when appeal court judges upheld a challenge by Robert McIntosh.

The Crown tried to seize 18,000 of his assets after he was jailed for four years at the High Court in Paisley for heroin trafficking last year.

But Scottish judges ruled that the procedures being used breached European human rights laws.

Barbara Roche
Barbara Roche said the plans will go forward
The court said such measures were unfair because they assumed guilt and forced criminals to prove they had earned money legitimately.

Ministers have drawn up plans to expand the powers of police and customs officers to seize the assets of suspected drug dealers - even without a criminal conviction.

This would put the onus on suspects to prove that assets such as boats, houses and expensive cars have been obtained legitimately.

At present the law only allows the courts to seize assets from those with a criminal conviction.

Tougher laws

Prime Minister Tony Blair has already vowed to seek to establish the new powers despite the verdict.

He admitted on Saturday that the full implications of the verdict had not been examined, but insisted it would not stand in the way of the government's plans.

Now Home Office Minister Barbara Roche has told BBC Scotland that plans for tougher laws are still going ahead.

However, she said the government would take account of the Scottish court decision.

Scottish Justice Minister Jim Wallace said the court ruling may help to point out potential shortcomings in the present laws which should be avoided in the new legislation.

Search BBC News Online

Advanced search options
Launch console
BBC RADIO NEWS
BBC ONE TV NEWS
WORLD NEWS SUMMARY
PROGRAMMES GUIDE
See also:

14 Oct 00 | Scotland
Blair in crime proceeds pledge
13 Oct 00 | Scotland
Drug profit confiscations outlawed
09 Oct 00 | Scotland
New powers to seize drug profits
Internet links:


The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites

Links to more Scotland stories are at the foot of the page.


E-mail this story to a friend

Links to more Scotland stories