It was not necessary in a prosecution for money laundering under s.49(2) Drug Trafficking Act 1994 and s.93C(2) Criminal Justice Act 1988 for the Crown to prove that the property being converted was in fact the proceeds of drug trafficking and of crime respectively.Appeal by the prosecutor against the Crown Court judge's decision that it was necessary in a prosecution for money laundering, under s.49(2) Drug Trafficking Act 1994 and s.93C(2) Criminal Justice Act 1988, for the Crown to prove that the property being converted was in fact the proceeds of drug trafficking and of crime respectively. The nine defendants were alleged to have used the services of one or other of two bureaux de change in London for the conversion of over ?3 million into Dutch guilders in 34 separate transactions. At a preparatory hearing, the judge decided that it was necessary to prove, in a prosecution for money laundering under those two sections, that the property was the proceeds of drug trafficking/crime. The prosecutor appealed.HELD: (1) The judge had jurisdiction to order a preparatory hearing under s.29 Criminal Procedure and Investigations Act 1996. The judge had been entitled to conclude that the conditions of length and complexity in the section were met in this case and it then became a matter of discretion whether to order a preparatory hearing. In exercising that discretion the judge had been entitled to take into account the advantage of a ruling on the point of law. (2) Subsection (1) of s.49 of the 1994 Act and of s.93C of the 1988 Act was concerned with the defendant's own proceeds and did require the Crown to prove that the property being converted was the proceeds of drug trafficking or crime respectively; whereas subsection (2) was concerned with another person's proceeds and what was critical was the defendant's state of mind. The subsection specifically did not expressly require the Crown to prove that the property was in fact the proceeds of drug trafficking/crime. The distinction was deliberate. The Crown's interpretation had been correct. It was not necessary in order to prove an offence under subsection 2 of either s.49 of the 1994 Act or s.93C of the 1988 Act that the property was the proceeds of drug trafficking or of crime.Appeal allowed.

[2003] EWCA Crim 3082

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