“This law allows us to say, ‘Where did you get that?'”

Just read this Herald story filled with scary-almost Orwellian sounding-quotes:

The law will be a powerful weapon against organised crime as it does not require police to prove any offence has been committed before taking assets. Police Commissioner Howard Broad said yesterday that officers could now go after “people who have not worked their entire lives”, who were not living off an inheritance yet had substantial wealth.”This law allows us to say, ‘Where did you get that?”‘Mr Broad said police had a “hit list” ready for when the Criminal Proceeds Recovery Act came into force next week.”There are certainly people associated with criminal organisations in New Zealand that we have in mind.”The law replaces one which required police to prove to the high standard of “beyond reasonable doubt” that assets were criminal proceeds.They will now have to prove only to the much lower civil threshold of “on the balance of probabilities” – essentially placing the onus on the criminals to prove where they got the assets.

via NZ Herald.

There is, thankfully, a caveat: the accused must be seen to have benefitted from ‘significant criminal activity’..and in fact there is some debate as to whether the criminal, rather than civil, standard might apply to that particular caveat (i.e. do you have to prove significant criminal activity on the ‘balance of probabilities’ or beyond a reasonable doubt’?).

So here’s hoping the above caveat is enough to stop the police from targeting people who have committed non-gang/drug related crimes, otherwise this bill really would be Orwellian.



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