Tuesday, April 02, 2024

Criminal enterprises

It was easter over the weekend, which meant the annual "debate" over relic easter trading laws, and various businesses deliberately flouting them for profit. I'd prefer those out-dated laws to be reformed - my preference is to make easter Sunday a public holiday, which solves all the problems other than business greed - but until they are, breaking them remains a crime. And where businesses deliberately commit crimes for profit, they need to be punished. Unfortunately, the fine for breaching the law - $1000 - is derisory, and clearly an insufficient deterrent (some criminal businesses clearly regard it as a cost of doing business).

Fortunately there's a solution for that. When a business makes more than $30,000 from breaking the law, that is "significant criminal activity". When they have knowingly, directly or indirectly, derived a benefit from significant criminal activity - which is clearly the case here - that means they have "unlawfully benefited from significant criminal activity". And where a business has unlawfully benefited from significant criminal activity, the resulting revenue can be taken under a profit forfeiture order under the Criminal Proceeds (Recovery) Act 2009. Note that when a business is convicted of a crime, that automatically meets the test for granting such an order, so the only legal question is the amount - a question which can easily be resolved with a search warrant or production order for their accounting records.

The question then is: will the police enforce the law, or will they allow these criminal enterprises to profit from their crimes? Or is it not a crime when done by the rich?