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Criminal procedure – Validity of a criminal seizure in the light of the annulment of an indictment: requirement of serious or corroborating evidence

Mar 11, 2020

In this case, an Investigation Chamber had confirmed the seizure of a life insurance policy ordered by an investigating judge despite the annulment of the indictment of its holder on the grounds, inter alia, that, despite the absence of serious or corroborating evidence of the commission of an offence, it could not be ruled out that the judicial investigation would subsequently demonstrate the involvement of the person concerned in the facts.

In overturning this decision of the Investigation Chamber, the Court of Cassation reiterates that, while the investigating judge may order criminal seizure of property or rights for which confiscation is provided for in the Criminal Code even though the owner is not being indicted, that judge must nevertheless ensure that there is prior evidence of the commission of an offence that would justify the seizure order, over and above hypothetical grounds alone.

Cass. crim. 4 March 2020, No. 19-81.371.