N.B. plans law allowing seizure of property
The New Brunswick government is giving police forces the ability to seize cars and houses from individuals believed to be in the drug trade or producing child pornography.
The Liberal government will be introducing a Civil Forfeiture Act in the legislative assembly on Thursday.
Attorney General Kelly Lamrock said this proposed law will help police combat crime, protect people and clean up neighbourhoods.
"No child should grow up watching drugs sold with impunity, no child should be made to feel unsafe or should be abused because we can't prove which individual in a house is doing it," Lamrock said.
"The Civil Forfeiture Act allows us to make a very important balance of civil liberties on the one hand but also making sure that the instruments used in crime are taken away before more people and more kids get hurt."
Even if there isn't enough evidence to convict a person in a criminal proceeding, this will allow the police and prosecutors to then launch a lawsuit to seize the property being used for illegal purposes.
These cases will be settled in civil court, which means they don't need proof of guilt beyond a reasonable doubt so they require less proof.
After the person's property is seized it will then be sold and the money will then go back into the communities through programs like victim services.
Leanne Fitch, the deputy chief with the Fredericton Police, said this will make the job of police easier.
She said now when the police know that a house is being used to sell drugs out of they will be able to do something about it.
Fredericton Mayor Brad Woodside said the proposed law will be an "incredible tool to go in and clean up neighbourhoods."
Other provinces, such as Ontario, Quebec, Alberta and British Columbia, already have similar pieces of legislation in place.