Monday, 13 December 2010

Proceeds of crime again


I drew attention some time ago to the decision of the Court of Appeal in Basso & anor v. R. [2010] EWCA Crim 1119 confirming the power of the Crown Court to make confiscation orders under the Proceeds of Crime Act 2004 in planning enforcement cases. (See "Another weapon in the enforcement armoury" posted on 1 June 2010.)

At the time, I was not aware of another case in which a local planning authority had successfully applied for a confiscation order earlier in the year. In this case, Hounslow LBC used the powers available under POCA to recover money earned by Kuldeep Singh Deol from the illegal conversion of two residential properties into flats.

Mr Deol had without planning permission converted a single dwelling into four self contained flats, and the dwelling next-door into three self contained flats. In addition, he had built an unauthorised rear extension at one of the properties and an unauthorised front extension at the other. Planning permission to continue using the two properties as seven flats was refused by the council in February 2005. Following this, four separate enforcement notices were served in relation to these changes of use and the unauthorised operational development. The notices required the cessation of the use of the properties as separate flats and the removal of the unauthorised extensions. Mr Deol eventually pleaded guilty to failure to comply with the enforcement notices at Kingston Magistrates Court on 10 November 2008.

The case was presumably sent up to the Crown Court for sentence. (Magistrates Courts do not have the power to make a confiscation order under POCA.) On 21 January 2010 the case came before HH Judge Barnes at Kingston Crown Court, when the Council sought a confiscation order in respect of the proceeds of the crime. (See my previous post on 1 June 2010 for details of the applicable rules.) The judge found that Mr Deol had financially benefitted from his offences in the sum of £186,680 and a confiscation order was made for that amount. Mr Deol was fined £750 for the offences and was also ordered to pay £2,000 towards the council’s costs. It is understood that Mr Deol has now complied with the enforcement notices.

© MARTIN H GOODALL

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