Dáil Éireann - Volume 641 - 08 November, 2007

Written Answers. - Criminal Assets Bureau.

Deputy Tony Gregory asked the Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform further to his reply to Parliamentary Question No. 182 of 1 November 2007, if he will examine the recommendation made to reduce the seven year period to three years; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [27837/07]

  Deputy Brian Lenihan: The Criminal Assets Bureau operates under the Proceeds of Crime Acts, 1996/2005 (as amended). Under this legislation, monies or property frozen pursuant to Sections 2 or 3 of the Act remain frozen for a period of at least seven years. The only exception to this minimum seven year waiting period is whereby all relevant parties agree to the application of a section 4a order which allows for a disposal order to be made by the High Court within the seven year period with the consent of all parties. These consent provisions were introduced in 2005 under the Proceeds of Crime (Amendment) Act of that year. The issue of this standard minimum seven year waiting period being reduced to a minimum three year period was considered by the Oireachtas during its examination of and discussion on that Amendment Act. Taking account of the introduction of [575] the new consent provisions, the approach taken in the legislation was to retain the standard minimum seven year waiting period primarily on the basis that a reduction of the period between the interlocutory order and the disposal order to three years might render the legislation more open to challenge in terms of due process. While I will keep the matter under review, I currently have no plans to introduce further change in respect of this matter.