The petition of Giovanni Di Stefano,
Declares that the petitioner is currently imprisoned at HMP Highpoint, Stradishall, Suffolk CB8 9YG and is a national of the Republic of Italy, born on the 1 July 1955; the petitioner is serving a sentence of 14 years imprisonment from 28 March 2013 and such sentence ends on the 27 March 2020 or under the early release scheme on the 27 June 2019; the petitioner is however, also subject to a 3 year default sentence for a confiscation order imposed on the 22 April 2014; however, that order and default was solely on the basis of “hidden assets”; further the House of Commons will be alarmed to know that under the Proceeds of Crime Act 2002 and all its subsequent amendments in the past 16 years the House of Commons never added “hidden assets” as a finding; further, the Proceeds of Crime Act 2002 remains wholly silent on such a term or finding; the term and imposition of imprisonment for “hidden assets” was created by the Judiciary who are not elected law making members of parliament; the term commenced in 2006 and no political challenge has ever been taken; Parliament has no legislative superior; further that the courts have no inherent powers to invalidate, strike down, supersede, disregard, add or amend the provisions of any statute duly enacted by the Queen in Parliament, and indeed extremely limited power to even enquire whether a statute has been duly enacted; the judiciary in adding/amending the Proceeds of Crime Act 2002 by adding “hidden assets” have usurped the functions of Parliament and thousands of citizens are suffering imprisonment as a direct result.
The petitioners thus requests that the House of Commons urges first and foremost that the Secretary of State for Justice orders the immediate release of anyone currently imprisoned as a result of a finding of “hidden assets” and that any defendant in confiscation proceedings are not subject to future arbitrary and unlawful detention founded upon the Judiciary creating a law without the sanction of Parliament.
And the petitioners remain, etc.—[Presented by Sir Roger Gale, Official Report, 21 November 2018; Vol. 649, c. 2P.]
Observations from the Under-Secretary of State for Justice (Chris Philp):
Under the separation of powers doctrine, a core function of Parliament is to make legislation which will then be interpreted and applied by the judiciary.
Ministers of the Crown have a statutory obligation to uphold the independence of the judiciary. It is therefore inappropriate for the Secretary of State for Justice or me to comment on judgments made in court. If parties to proceedings wish to challenge judgments that have been made, the appropriate way to do so is through the right of appeal.