Law Report: Crown Court Had Jurisdiction to Make Confiscation Order on Committal ; 26 June 2002 Regina V Pope ( UKHL 26) House of Lords (Lord Nicholls of Birkenhead, Lord Browne-Wilkinson, Lord Hobhouse of Woodborough, Lord Millett, Lord Scott of Foscote) 20 June 2002
Kate O'Hanlon, Barrister, The Independent (London, England)
THE CROWN Court had the power to make an order for confiscation pursuant to section 71 of the Criminal Justice Act 1988 on committal for sentence from a magistrates' court in respect of offences committed before 30 September 1998.
The House of Lords allowed the appeal of the Crown against a decision that the Crown Court had had no jurisdiction to make a compensation order against him.
The defendant was charged with offences which were triable "either way", i.e. summarily in the magistrates' court or on indictment in the Crown Court. He elected to plead guilty to all the charges in the magistrates' court, and guilty pleas were duly entered against him.
The magistrates committed the defendant, pursuant to section 38 of the Magistrates' Courts Act 1980, to the Crown Court for sentence. The Crown Court sentenced him to two years' imprisonment concurrent on all counts, and made a confiscation order pursuant to section 71 of the Criminal Justice Act 1988 in the sum of pounds 127,000.
The defendant appealed against the confiscation order on the ground, inter alia, that the Crown Court had exceeded its powers in making the confiscation order. The Court of Appeal allowed the appeal, holding that it was bound to do so by the decision of the Court of Appeal in R v Whellem  1 Cr App R (S) 200.
The court certified that a question of law of general public importance was involved in the decision, namely whether the Crown Court on committal for sentence from a magistrates' court in respect of offences committed before 30 September 1998 had the power to make an order for confiscation pursuant to section 71 of the 1988 Act. The Crown appealed. …