20 June, 2010
Confiscation of property by the court. We are looking at our fundamental right to own private property. We have seen that there are exceptions when the right may be abrogated. The first occurs when our property is acquired under a law that makes provision for compensation. The second is when we are obliged to pay some of our money to government by way of taxes to cover the cost of public services.
The third exception to the fundamental right set out in the Constitution is where a law provides a penalty for breach of the law. If we commit an offence under the Criminal Code, and the judge or Magistrate fines us, we cannot complain that this is a confiscation of our property. The Constitution clearly makes allowance for fines and penalties.
The law can also impose a penalty which is collectible under civil process. So, if we bring into Anguilla goods that are either prohibited or restricted under the Customs Act, such as imitation firearms or fireworks, we may find them being seized or forfeited in civil proceedings in the Magistrate’s Court. We cannot then claim that our constitutional rights are being infringed.