B.C. to tighten civil forfeiture law to better target drug crime, hidden assets
By The Canadian PressNews Public Sector bc civil forfeiture
VICTORIA — The British Columbia government plans to strengthen its civil forfeiture law to better target drug crime and hidden assets.
Solicitor General Mike Farnworth said Tuesday amendments to the civil forfeiture law introduced in the legislature would expand the reach of the legal tools used to fight gangs and organized crime.
He said the proposed amendments would require people accused of criminal behaviour to prove an asset involved in a civil forfeiture proceeding is not an instrument or proceed of crime.
Farnworth said under the proposed amendments the onus would be on defendants to prove items seized in civil forfeiture cases came from legitimate sources.
“It will make it much easier to deal with cases where the police come across a significant amount of drugs, for example, as well as large amounts of cash,” he said.
Farnworth said the government is confident the amendments will withstand legal challenges.
He said the amendments will make the process more efficient and cost-effective, and ensure maximum amounts of forfeited funds are available to invest in community safety programs.
The amendments are the first significant revisions of the civil forfeiture law in 13 years, Farnworth said.
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