West Law Report

Wife’s share in home not subject to confiscation

Posted in Times Law Report by mrkooenglish on July 22, 2008

From The TimesJuly 14, 2008

Wife’s share in home not subject to confiscation
Court of Appeal

Published July 14, 2008

Gibson v Revenue and Customs Prosecution Office

When a confiscation order was made against a convicted drug dealer, his wife was entitled to keep her 50 per cent interest in the matrimonial home, despite a finding in the confiscation proceedings that she had guilty knowledge of the source of her husband’s wealth. The court had no power to supplement the provisions of the Drug Trafficking Act 1994 so as to bring her share of the equity in the matrimonial home within the order.

The Court of Appeal (Lord Justice May, Lady Justice Arden and Lord Justice Wall) ([2008] EWCA Civ 645) so held allowing an appeal by Marion Gibson from a decision of Mr James Goudy, QC, sitting as a deputy Queen’s Bench Division judge ([2007] EWHC 1405 (Admin)) that as a matter of public policy and justice her beneficial interest in 50 Cartier Close, Warrington, should be reduced to a share of 12.5 per cent pursuant to a confiscation order made on March 29, 2000, against her husband, Gene Murray Gibson, following his conviction at Manchester Crown Court for importing cocaine.

LORD JUSTICE MAY distinguished two family cases: Commissioners of Customs and Excise v A ([2003] Fam 55) and CPS v Richard ([2006] 2 FLR 1220).

In both those cases the court had declined to transfer to a complicit wife assets which were subject of a confiscation order against the husband. But declining to order the transfer to a complicit spouse of property which was not hers was one thing; confiscating property she already owned would be quite another.

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