Andrew Mitchell QC in Supreme Court: Gale and another v Serious Organised Crime Agency

Andrew Mitchell QC will appear in the Supreme Court in the week commencing 23 May 2011.

The case can be watched live on-line here:

Issue

Whether Article 6 ECHR requires proof beyond a reasonable doubt in civil recovery proceedings where allegations of criminal conduct are made against a defendant.

If not, whether there are ever circumstances, such as previous acquittal in a criminal trial on the same facts, where civil proceedings, although not linked to the criminal proceedings, have to apply the criminal standard of proof. If so, whether it is possible to interpret s241(3) Proceeds of Crime Act 2002 compatibly with that Convention requirement.

Facts

The Respondents brought civil recovery proceedings against the Appellants under Part 5 Proceeds of Crime Act 2002.They claimed that the first Appellant’s (DG’s) wealth was the result of drug trafficking, money laundering and tax evasion. They claimed that the second Appellant (TG) had played an important part in DG’s money laundering and that assets in her name or in their joint names or in the names of nominees were acquired as a result of the DG’s criminal activities.

DG had previously been the subject of criminal proceedings in Spain and Portugal in respect of alleged involvement in drug trafficking. The Spanish proceedings against him were discontinued; he was acquitted in the Portuguese proceedings. Part of the evidence relied on by the Respondents, and considered by the Judge, related to the events which gave rise to Spanish and Portuguese criminal proceedings.

The Judge held that that DG had been involved in money laundering and drug trafficking and TG in money laundering and that the recoverable property was obtained from that conduct and made a civil recovery order. There is a further issue in relation to a receiver’s costs.