The ride could be over for islanders who have gained fancy possessions through illegal means. *iStock photo
The ride could be over for islanders who have gained fancy possessions through illegal means. *iStock photo

FRIDAY, DEC. 2: Suspected criminals could be stripped of their flash cars and expensive jewellery under a raft of new crime-busting laws.

Police could be given the power to seize possessions from those suspected of profiting from crime — even before they are charged with an offence.

Also, plans to extend the use of electronic tags to cover all suspects on police and court bail are expected to be tabled in the House today. Currently only individuals who have been arrested or charged with a firearms offence can be electronically monitored.

Attorney General Kim Wilson told the Bermuda Sun the crackdown would prevent people from profiting from a life of crime.

And she said the extension of tagging legislation was the logical next step to ensure a safer society.

She said: “We need to take a strong stance in these areas and this is what we are doing by making these changes.

“The measures we want to put in place would cut crime off at source as well as ensure the safety of the community.”

Ms Wilson is also looking at a ‘three strikes’ option to keep minor drug offenders off the Stop List.

 

 

By Simon Jones

FRIDAY, DEC. 2: Police could be given powers to target the possessions of suspected crooks if they believe the items were bought with the proceeds of crime.

This would mean flash cars, luxury boats and expensive jewellery would all be fair game and could be taken from suspects even before they are charged.

Attorney General Kim Wilson told the Sun there would be a string of safeguards associated with the power to ensure it was used properly.

The power can only be exercised by a senior police officer and the seized possessions can only be held for more than 24 hours if a magistrate grants permission.

The current law

At present police can confiscate money and property from criminals after they have been convicted of offences such as money laundering and drug dealing.

And they also have the power to seize cash from suspected offenders before they have been charged.

But the change in the law would expand the arena of what could be seized and means the authorities could also confiscate suspected criminals’ property including flash cars, jewellery and jet-skis.

Legislation could reach the House within the next few months.

Ms Wilson said: “We would just be amending the current Proceeds of Crime legislation to increase the scope of the items police can seize before charge if they believe they have been bought with the proceeds of criminal activity.

“There are obviously safeguards in place. It can only be done by a senior police officer and after 24 hours police have to go to a magistrate to keep the items. Police also have to be satisfied that the items being seized are the result of criminal activity.

“One way to interrupt the criminal activity is to take away their money.

“The idea is to cut the enterprise off at source.”