The Director of Civil Forfeiture’s applied to force the sale of the defendants’ property, which was subject to an interim preservation order and in the process of foreclosure.
BC Supreme Court Justice Bowden ruled that forced sale is a remedy available to the Director of Civil Forfeiture if the Director’s interest in the property is in danger of eroding while the sale is delayed:
 The result of the order is that the Director may proceed with the steps necessary to sell the Property. While that may seem harsh in its result, it should be noted that the Director acquired his rights under an IPO which was consented to by the defendants. Further, the exercise by the Director of his right to sell the Property only arises because the defendants failed to keep their mortgages current and pay the property taxes when due. The Director has made it clear to the defendants that if the taxes are paid and the mortgages are brought into good standing he will not proceed with the sale of the Property. If that is not done, then foreclosure proceedings will likely take place or a tax sale may occur, both of which will likely erode the value of the Director’s interest in the Property.
This case is a sobering reminder of the financial burden placed on civil forfeiture defendants. Not only is the defendant responsible for funding his own legal defence (even if he is indigent), but the slightest delinquency in mortgage or tax payments can result in complete financial devastation. The effect of this process is to crush and demoralize defendants regardless of their potential innocence or lawful interest in the property at stake.
Decided by the Supreme Court of British Columbia on April 11, 2013.
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