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Assie v The Queen [2020] NSWCCA 249

appeal against sentence — conspiring with four other persons with intention of dishonestly causing loss to Commonwealth contrary to s 135.4(3) of Commonwealth Criminal Code — dealing with money in excess of $100,000 reasonably suspected of being proceeds of crime contrary to s 400.9(1) of Commonwealth Criminal Code — original sentence imposed 5 years’ imprisonment with 3 year and 3 month non-parole period — nature and circumstances — s 16A(2)(a) — sections of Centrelink claims forms were completed by offender and husband in support of false claims for carer payments — four customers were introduced to offender and husband and carried out role as customers of welfare fraud and co-conspirators in conspiracy — conspiracy was sophisticated — those involved were committed to achieving fraud on Commonwealth — neither offender nor husband were deterred from commitment to achieving objective by seizure of large amount of cash during conspiracy — offender was equally culpable with husband and both were architects of fraudulent scheme even if in early stages of conspiracy husband played more dominant role — offender’s role was central to achieving perpetration of welfare fraud and sole motivation was greed — offender received at least $11,000 for role in conspiracy — sentencing judge accepted that having been married to first cousin by arrangement at age of 18 would have been productive of significant power imbalance in marriage — offender’s limited formal education meant they relied on husband for designing formal aspects of scheme and operation — parity — different and more limited roles played by customers in conspiracy by agreeing to utilise services offender and husband offered as facilitators and organisers of welfare fraud — unlike offender each co-conspirator entered early plea of guilty and two of them had additional discount applied for assistance to authorities — despite evidence of family violence sentencing judge satisfied that offender exercised choice in involving themselves in conspiracy evident from fact that offender continued offending behaviour after husband’s death — hardship to the offender — s 16A(2)(m) — offender’s experience of full time custody as woman in her 60s with concerns for three intellectually disabled children who remain in offender’s care would make experience as sentenced prisoner more onerous — general deterrence — s 16A(2)(ja) — essential that aggregate sentence reflect need for general deterrence — sentence neither unreasonable nor plainly unjust — nothing in case is even faintly suggestive that offender suffered any injustice in sentencing process — leave to appeal refused — appeal dismissed
The CSD acknowledges Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples as First Australians and recognises their culture, history, diversity and their deep connection to the land. We acknowledge that we are on the land of the traditional owners and pay respects to Elders past and present.

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