Our office has recently made several successful applications before the Magistrates Court for the return of property seized from various clients including a recent application for the return of approximately $420,000.00 worth of watches.
The legislative powers with respect to property are governed by the Police Powers and Responsibilities Act (Qld) 2000.
Police have the power, in certain circumstances, to seize a person’s property and hold it in their custody for a period of 30 days.
Police may hold the property for longer than 30 days in the following circumstances:
- A successful application is made to extend the seizure time;
- The property is evidence in a proceeding;
- The property is used in manufacturing a dangerous drug;
- The property is subject to a forfeiture proceeding.
After 30 days, and assuming the property is not subject to any of the pre-conditions discussed, police must return the property to the owner or the person who had lawful possession of the property if they are satisfied of the following:
- It is not required to be retained; and
- It is lawful for the person to have possession of the thing.
Application to the Commissioner of Police for the Return of Property
If your property is returnable and Police have failed to return it, you can make an application to the Commissioner of Police. The Commissioner may either:
- Return the property to yourself or the nominated person; or
- Refuse to return the property.
Application to the Magistrates Court for the Order for the Return of Property
If the Commissioner refuses to return the property, you can then make an application to a Magistrate.
A magistrate may order for the return of the property if the Magistrate is satisfied that you:
- May lawfully possess the property; and
- It is appropriate the property be returned to you.
A Magistrate is unlikely to find it is appropriate to return the property if:
- It may be evidence in a proceeding; or
- Used In or for manufacturing a dangerous drug; or
- May be subject to a forfeiture proceeding.
If you have property which has been seized by police, you should contact Jones + Associates, to assist with its return.