Ontario (Attorney General) v. $51,000 CDN (in rem), 2012 ONSC 4958

The Ontario Civil Remedies for Illicit Activities office applied for an interim preservation order of a $51,000 life insurance policy on the grounds that the beneficiary of the life insurance policy (Ved Dhingra) had killed the policyholder, his estranged wife Kamlesh Dhingra. A jury found that Mr. Dhingra was not criminally responsible for the killing due to severe mental health problems. Mr. Dhingra’s counsel therefore argued that he should be entitled to the $51,000 life insurance payout. The Attorney General, on the other hand, argued that the funds should be transferred to the province as “proceeds of unlawful activity.”

Although this was an interlocutory decision, dealing with an application for an interim preservation order of the funds held in court, the decision of Justice O’Marra demonstrates the broad definition of “unlawful activity” in Ontario’s Civil Remedies Act:

“The proceedings do not seek to establish fault for a person. An offence may be found to have been committed even if no person has been charged with the offence, or a person was charged with the offence but the charge was withdrawn or stayed or the person was acquitted of the charge … Proof that a person was convicted, found guilty or found not criminally responsible on account of mental disorder in respect of an offence is proof that the person committed the offence.”

On this basis, the funds from Kamlesh Dhingra’s life insurance policy were deemed to be “proceeds of unlawful activity” and were therefore made subject to an interim preservation order, pending the final conclusion of the legal action. Furthermore, Mr. Dhingra’s application to pay legal expenses out of the insurance proceeds was denied on the grounds that he had not provided full financial disclosure.

Decided by the Ontario Superior Court of Justice on September 14, 2012.
Click here for the full text of the decision.

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