Saskatchewan’s Director under the Seizure of Criminal Property Act applied for an interim preservation order, allowing the Regina Police to continue holding $5,240.00 in cash seized from the Defendant, on suspicion that it was the proceeds of crime.
No charges had been filed against the Defendant, and the Director had conceded that there was not sufficient to support a criminal charge. The Court of Queen’s Bench granted the interim preservation order, however, stating that even without enough evidence for criminal charges, there remained a “serious issue to be tried” on the civil standard of proof.
This is a stark reminder of the difference between the criminal and civil standards of proof, and a clear example of how provincial governments are increasingly seizing property in lieu of criminal charges when proof of guilt beyond a reasonable doubt is not possible.
Decided by the BC Supreme Court on February 14, 2012.
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