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Tobacco importation charges withdrawn

In 2018, our client was charged with 9 counts of importing tobacco products with the intention of defrauding the revenue, contrary to section 233BABAD(1) of the Customs Act 1901 (Cth).

The charges related to an alleged 149 individual consignments that had been imported over several months.  The total value of the duties and GST that our client allegedly avoided was over $15 million.

Hanna Legal represented our client at pre-trial examinations of various witnesses at the County Court of Victoria.  

Following this, our criminal lawyers sent written representations to the Commonwealth Director of Public Prosecutions, arguing that the counts relating to 142 of the 149 consignments should be withdrawn.  The representations were successful and the CDPP withdrew those charges against our client.

Our client’s jury was delayed for two years during the COVID-19 pandemic. 

During this time, we discovered a significant issue with prosecution evidence obtained pursuant to a mutual assistance request to the Philippines, which would affect the admissibility of the evidence at trial.

Our criminal lawyers drafted a “no bill” application to the CDPP, inviting them to withdraw the remaining the charges against our client.  

The CDPP initially rejected the “no bill” application and the matter remained listed for trial.  

In response, we sought further discovery, the results of which exacerbated the difficulties faced by the CDPP in relation to the mutual assistance request evidence. 

In April 2022, the CDPP finally decided to withdraw the remaining charges against our client and the criminal proceedings came to an end.