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Drug Trafficking Offences Act 1986

NCJ Number
International Journal on Drug Policy Volume: 1 Issue: 2 Dated: (September/October 1989) Pages: 33-35
A Burton
Date Published
3 pages
Recent British legislation that aims to strip drug traffickers of their illegal gains could cause serious dilemmas for defense lawyers and inhibit their freedom to proceed in their clients' best interests.
The Drug Trafficking Offences Act, which became effective January 12, 1987, provides for both criminal and civil sanctions designed to strip drug dealers of all assets acquired from their drug dealings. As an aid to investigators in quickly tracing and identifying assets without alerting the suspect, the act extends powers under the Police and Criminal Evidence Act by providing for two special orders. Section 27 requires persons holding material deemed relevant by authorities to release it for examination. Section 28 enables an investigator to obtain a warrant to enter and search premises to seize evidence, even if it is not suspected that any offense has been committed within the United Kingdom. In Section 24, the act makes it an offense to assist another to retain or control his drug-trafficking proceeds. Section 31 makes it an offense to make a disclosure likely to prejudice an investigation into drug trafficking. The interaction of Sections 24, 27, and 31 poses a major ethical dilemma for defense attorneys. The act requires a defense attorney to balance duty to the client and the attorney's own interest as well as the public interest. 3 footnotes, 3 references.