Proceeds of Crime Lawyer Ottawa • Proceeds of Crime Lawyer Toronto

What are Proceeds of Crime Offences

These offences were the great invention of the early 1990's, when it was realized that securing criminal convictions against organized crime that required proof an offence beyond a reasonable doubt were very difficult and costly to obtain. Rather than primarily go after people, proceed of crime seizures and charges mainly go after property. 

Why Fight Proceeds of Crime Charges

Proceeds of crime charges can lead to you being permanently deprived of huge legitimately acquired assets, and possibly serving years in jail, without any direct proof that you've committed underlying criminal offences other than being in possession of property with questionable origins. 

How to Fight Proceeds of Crime Charges: 3 Top Trial Strategies

1. There is no proof the assets are the proceeds of crime

Sometimes proceeds of crime charges come about simply because the government doesn't believe large amounts of assets were acquired legitimately, particularly large amount of cash. But you have every right to bury cash in your backyard or stuff it in a mattress, and a court shouldn't make an adverse inference about its origins solely because of its location or unproven street rumours about your activities.

Unfortunately courts may improperly draw such adverse inferences if knowledgeable defence counsel does not vigorously challenge them, and demonstrate upon whom the burden of proof fully rests: the prosecution.

2. There is no proof the assets belong to you

The link between seized property and you may be tenuous. But again courts may jump to unreasonable conclusions if they aren't constantly reminded of the high level of burden of proof that Parliament intended in creating proceeds of crime legislation, so that Canadians aren't arbitrarily deprived of their legitimately acquired property. 

3. The assets were only located through an unlawful Charter breach and should be excluded from evidence

Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms protections apply just as much in proceeds of crime cases as they do in other criminal cases. While there is no Charter right to property in the abstract, you do have the right to be secure against unreasonable search and seizure, and the right to life, liberty and security of the person. Egregious breaches by police of those rights might lead to all charges against you being thrown out, and your property being returned.