Under the Serious and Organised Crime (Unexplained Wealth) Act 2009 (SA) the Crown Solicitor, upon request of the Director of Public Prosecutions, may apply to the District Court for a declaration that a person or an incorporated body has unexplained wealth. These orders are called unexplained wealth orders [s 9].
Unexplained wealth orders, however, provide the authorities with increased powers to seize property connected to illegal activity but without having to establish a direct link between the property concerned and a specific criminal offence.
What is wealth?
Under the Act wealth includes all property a person owns or controls, or has previously owned or controlled, and this extends to property acquired before the commencement of the legislation [s 3].
Property covered by an unexplained wealth order
If an unexplained wealth order is granted the property the subject of the order will be those components of a person’s property which have not been lawfully acquired. This property then forms the basis of a debt from the person to the State with the effect that it is surrendered to the government [ see s 9 generally].
It is also possible for the authorities to apply for investigative (for example monitoring orders [s 14]) or restraining orders preventing the disposal of property [see s 20] before or after an application for an unexplained wealth order has been made.
Appeals against an unexplained wealth order or a restraining order can be made to the Supreme Court [ss 10, 26].