Ex-convict furious after £10,000 medical negligence payout is confiscated
An ex-convict who nearly died in jail of undiagnosed cancer is furious after the funds paid out in compensation were confiscated by the Crown Prosecution Service.
David Paul, 34, was caught with five kilos of cocaine at Manchester Airport in May 2008, one of six involved in a drug trafficking ring worth an estimated £1.5 million smuggling cocaine from the Caribbean to the UK.
He pleaded guilty and was sentenced to nine years in prison at Manchester Crown Court in 2009.
Shortly after he was jailed Mr Paul was taken ill after his left testicle ballooned up to six inches in width.
The former drug addict was told he had an infection and was given antibiotics, but ten months later discovered he had a "rare and aggressive" form of testicular cancer and had just two years to live.
The medical blunder was admitted by The Pennine Acute Hospitals in January 2010 who paid Mr Paul £10,000 in compensation.
However eight months later the CPS suddenly launched a Proceeds of Crime Act (POCA), leaving Mr Paul on his release from jail with nothing.
Mr Paul said: "I put it in a high interest account for two years.
"After nearly dying I turned my life around and beat cancer against all the odds.
"Every day I looked forward to that money.
"I thought I could do my driving lessons or put it toward a deposit for a flat.
"Now I have nothing to start my life with."
The confiscation order, for £29,910 against Mr Paul began in September 2010, a year after he was jailed.
The CPS still hope to claim a further £19,000.
The POCA allows courts to file a confiscation order after a conviction and "make assumptions" about money made by defendants six years previous to their conviction if they are deemed to have led a "criminal lifestyle".
This allows the CPS to continually dip into ex-convicts accounts to seize any money made in the future without exception - a right criticised for working against the rehabilitation of ex-offenders and preventing them from getting their lives back on track.
Mr Paul said he had a "death wish" before he was jailed and didn’t care if he lived or died but has now turned his life around after he was given the all clear and released from prison after serving four and half years.
He said: "I was a drug addict.
"That’s why I did it.
"It was stupid and I completely regret it but I’m a completely different person now."
A CPS spokesperson said: "Once a POCA order has been made, this order remains outstanding until the full amount has been paid.
"If an individual has come into possession of further assets, the confiscation order will be revisited and those assets seized.
"POCA orders are a lifetime order and we will ensure that offenders pay back in full what they gained from crime."
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