Letter to the Chair from Rt Hon Alan Johnson
MP, Home Secretary, dated 23 July 2009
3383/06, 8 JANUARY 2009)
Thank you for your letter of 8 July.
The Government considers that no individual
measures are required to give effect to this judgment, given the
Court's findings at paragraphs 73-79 of the judgment. The
Court dismissed as manifestly unfounded the complaint that there
had been unfairness in relation to the making of the confiscation
orders, stating, "There are no grounds to suggest that the
ultimate re-imposition of the confiscation orders against the
applicants, albeit significantly delayed, was inconsistent with
the essence of the offences to which they had pleaded guilty or
that they were not reasonably foreseeable".
The outcome would not therefore have been different
absent the violation. Although there was unreasonable delay in
the proceedings, Mr Soneji and Mr Bullen were convicted of serious
offences and it remains the case that they should be deprived
of their criminal benefit in accordance with the legislation.
In response to your specific questions, we have
taken the following steps to give effect to the judgment. The
Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) and the Revenue and Customs Prosecution
Office (RCPO) have disseminated the judgment to their prosecutors.
The CPS and RCPO have issued guidance reminding prosecutors of
the need to make progress in confiscation proceedings, to comply
with court directions on timing and to have regard to the reasonable
time requirement in Article 6 of the ECHR.
The National Policing Improvement Agency (NPIA)
has also issued guidance to Accredited Financial Investigators
in the police service and other agencies reminding them of the
need to be ready to proceed with confiscation hearings as soon
I am enclosing copies of the guidance issued
by CPS, RCPO and NPIA. These have also been sent to the Committee
of Ministers, under cover of the Government's submissions of 8 April
and 29 June, copies of which are also enclosed.
In addition, the Government is discussing with
the judiciary the most appropriate way to implement this judgment
in relation to court processes. Options being considered include
a practice direction or circulars to Court staff.
I am sending a copy of this letter to Michael
Wills, Ministry of Justice.
23 July 2009