The Irish Times reported here on Tuesday, December 18th that Ireland’s High Court has ruled that 25,000 euro in cryptocurrency which is held by a man in prison is considered “the proceeds of a crime”.
The Irish Times stated that the court ‘broke new legal ground’ while referring to the case of Neil Mannion, who is allegedly serving a six-and-a-half-year imprisonment at the Wheatfield Prison in Dublin since 2014 for drugs offenses.
Mannion was jailed at the Dublin Circuit Criminal Court in 2015 after supposedly pleading guilty to the charges made against him of possession and intent to distribute various controlled substances. He had admitted to selling drugs on the darknet, specifically on Silk Road and Agora.
His Bitcoin (BTC) revenues, funds from banking accounts and credit cards were all withdrawn by The Irish Criminal Assets Bureau (CAB) which were then settled in February 2016.
The Irish Times further stated that on further investigation, CAB found Mannion holding an online crypto wallet with Ethereum (ETH) worth approximately 25,000 euro. Since Ethereum had still not “started operating as a trading currency” at the time when the first proceedings were done, it was not considered in the initial investigation.
Later in July 2016, CAB submitted an application in order to obtain the Ethereum. Mannion opposed this application on the ground that the investigation had been concluded and hence the Irish authorities no longer had rights to his computer system or any copies of it.
Irish courts observe and are bound by precedents set in higher courts as they are part of a common-law system.
Justice Carmel Stewart further ruled none of his rights had not been breached and also stated that the initial investigation was potentially damaged by the “intricacies of data privacy rights” used by cryptocurrency exchanges. Stewart also stated that though the details of the investigation process raised serious questions, they at any point of time did not constitute a breach of Mannion’s constitutional rights.