Justice and Consumer Affairs

Legislation to combat criminal activity to be introduced (09/11/30)

NB 1898

Nov. 30, 2009

FREDERICTON (CNB) - The provincial government plans to introduce legislation that would allow it to proceed with civil action to seize properties used in, or acquired from, unlawful activities.

"This is another tool in the battle to stop criminal activities such as the production of drugs or child pornography," said Justice and Consumer Affairs Minister Michael Murphy. "I plan to introduce the Civil Forfeiture Act in the new year so that the provincial government may seize properties related to such offences."

Murphy said the legislation would complement the Provincial Proceeds of Crime program. Under the new legislation, the provincial government could proceed with civil action regardless of whether an individual has been charged under the Criminal Code of Canada.

The standard of proof in a criminal matter is guilt beyond a reasonable doubt. In civil matters, the standard of proof is lower: it is based on a balance of probabilities. Similar legislation is used in Ontario, British Columbia, Alberta and Quebec.

"I am confident that this legislation will make our communities safer and send a message to offenders that criminal activity will not be tolerated in our province," Murphy said.

09/11/30

MEDIA CONTACT: Mary Moszynski, communications, Department of Justice and Consumer Affairs, 506-444-3153.

09/11/30