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Ryan and Jessica ten Broeke read the judgement. Picture: Michael O Brien
The West Australian Ryan and Jessica ten Broeke read the judgement. Picture: Michael O'Brien

The teenage children of a drug trafficker could be left without a home after the Supreme Court ordered it to be seized under WA's strict confiscation laws.

Jessica ten Broeke, 18, and her brother Ryan, 17, lost a Supreme Court bid yesterday to keep their family home in Craigie.

It belongs to their mother, Valerie Jean Whittle, who was declared a drug trafficker and jailed for six years in 2009.

The ten Broekes' lawyer Rex Widerstrom said Whittle had enough drugs to be automatically declared a trafficker and under WA's severe criminal confiscation laws, the Supreme Court was obliged to order all her property handed to the State.

He said if the children of a crime figure were living in a home, they had grounds to appeal as "innocent parties being adversely affected". But that changed if it involved a drug trafficker.

Mr Widerstrom said the Director of Public Prosecutions had no room to move and nor did a judge. The property had to be seized and there was no right of appeal.

"We brought a case that essentially asked why they should be treated any differently to other young people in their position," he said.

Justice Jeremy Allanson ruled the objections of the children and their mother to the confiscation must be dismissed.

Once a person was declared a drug trafficker, the law meant their property would be confiscated. "The DPP has no choice which could affect the operation," he said.

Miss ten Broeke had appealed against the apparent injustice and unfairness of taking away her home due to the actions of someone else and the failure of the Criminal Property Confiscation Act to recognise the rights of children.

Justice Allanson said arguments relating to fairness and justice were not supported in the legislation and the Act was clear.

"Whether a confiscation is fair or just and whether that confiscation will give rise to hardship are not considerations to which I may have regard," he said.

Outside court, Miss ten Broeke said she and her younger brother risked being evicted from the childhood home when he turned 18 next year and they would now attempt to appeal.

"It's been a nightmare and we are being unfairly punished," she said. "Children have a right to a murderer's house if they killed someone in there, but we're discriminated against because our mother's a trafficker."

Ryan ten Broeke said he hoped to start an apprenticeship so he could become a tradesman but uncertainty over his living arrangement was making that dream difficult.

"It does state clearly in the law that they will take it off you, but it's just not right," he said. "The law should be changed."