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Proceeds-of-crimes law needs tightening

17 November 2004

Hon. Tony Ryall MP National Law and Order spokesman –

Proceeds-of-crimes law needs tightening

The proceeds-of-crime law must be tightened so investigators can deal effectively with drug dealers and white-collar criminals who launder cash, says National's Law and Order spokesman, Tony Ryall.

He is commenting after convicted methamphetamine cook Brett Lionel Allison was found guilty of laundering about $500,000. The judge said Allison, who was on a weekly ACC benefit of $418, had an unexplained income of more than $711,000.

"National has been calling for years for the Proceeds of Crimes Act to be made toughened, but this Government has done nothing and this Police Minister has sat on his hands.

"With the number of 'P' clan labs on the increase, it is imperative we give police more powers to bring these people to justice.

"The problem with the present law is that police have to prove that a criminal's assets are the result of illegal proceeds, and that the proceeds specifically relate to the conviction.

"This basically means it is the police's hands that are tied, not the criminal's. The law needs to be turned on its head.

"National will immediately reverse the onus of proof. We will pass a law that means if a convicted criminal can't prove the assets were legally obtained, then they will be seized.

"We will allow police to challenge the 'unexplained wealth' of a person or a gang without obtaining a conviction," says Mr Ryall.

ENDS

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