A MOVE to allow businesses to ‘avoid prosecution’ for financial crimes has been approved by the Assembly.
Deferred prosecution agreements allow for firms to come clean about criminal conduct, and then agree a way to right the wrongs they have committed and admitted.
Home Affairs Minister Helen Miles, who brought the proposition, said that a similar law had been introduced in the UK a decade ago, and introducing it in the Island would demonstrate Jersey’s commitment to a well-regulated finance industry, as it would provide an ‘additional tool to sanction legal entities’.
DPAs often lead to a financial penalty, but the courts may also choose to reject the agreement and pursue a ‘traditional’ criminal prosecution.
Under the existing law, a criminal act can only be attributed to a ‘legal person’, such as a company, where an actual person committing the offence can be said to represent the ‘directing mind and person’ of the corporate body.
Deputy Miles likened it to the Parish Hall inquiry system, where minor offences can be dealt with without having to be prosecuted in the courts.
Provided that the entity complies with the terms of the deferred prosecution agreement, it would cease to be of effect after its expiry date, and the Attorney General must then stop proceedings in relation to the offence.
The proposition was approved by 46 votes to nil.