We were instructed to act for a Defendant in POCA proceedings. The Defendant had been convicted of dealing in counterfeit cigarettes. The benefit from conviction was approximately £2,000. However, benefit had been assessed by the Prosecution at approximately £250,000. This mainly comprised cash deposits made over the relevant period.
The Defendant ran a convenience store selling groceries and related products. We were able to demonstrate from a careful analysis of the Defendant’s records including till readings, bank statements and annual accounts, that his shop would have generated sufficient turnover to cover most of the “unexplained cash deposits”.
The most interesting aspect of the case was that the Defendant claimed that some of the remaining unexplained cash deposits had been received from Hawala banking transactions which he had undertaken with various people in Iraq. This concept was totally rejected by the Prosecution both before and during the trial. Despite this, during oral evidence provided Frenkels Forensics, the idea and background to Hawala banking was clearly explained to the Court based on the previous experience of Hawala banking in other cases that we have been involved in.
The Judge accepted all of our arguments both in the expert report and in Court and ruled that the benefit should be restricted to the benefit from conviction of just £2,000.
Our client was delighted that he was able to retain his home that was at risk had the Prosecution’s benefit figure been unchallenged.