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Betka v R; Ghazoui v R; Hawchar v R [2020] NSWCCA 191

appeal against sentence — dealing with money to value of $100,000 or more intending that it would become instrument of crime contrary to s 404.4(1) of Commonwealth Criminal Code — original sentence imposed 3 years’ and 2 months imprisonment with 1 year and 11 month non-parole period on Ghazaoui — original sentence imposed 3 years’ and 4 months imprisonment with 1 year and 10 month non-parole period on Hawchar — original sentence imposed 6 years’ and 9 months imprisonment with 4 year non-parole period on Betka — nature and circumstances — s 16A(2)(a) — offenders structured cash deposited into various bank accounts in amounts less than $10,000 to avoid reporting requirements in Anti-Money Laundering and Counter Terrorism Financing Act — Gawchar was sentenced on basis that personally conducted 38 banking transactions totalling $289,602 over six days — Hawchar was sentenced on basis that personally conducted 19 banking transactions totalling $121,830 and also in possession of additional $116,500 — although Ghazoui conducted twice number of transactions and deposited twice amount of money by reason of contact with other syndicate members and association with leased premises Hawchar was more deeply involved in syndicate — role of both Ghazoui and Hawchar reflected mid-level offending — Betka sentenced on basis that personally conduct 558 banking transactions totalling $4,002,652 within 5 month period — funds formed part of $18,141,120 dealt with jointly with other members of syndicate — Betka’s offending in mid to high level based on finding that together with being directly responsible for deposits Betka was also responsible for distribution of funds to other members of syndicate — antecedents — s 16A(2)(m) — Hawchar had criminal record including sentence of imprisonment for extortion with threats of violence and dealing with property suspected of being proceeds of crime — Betka had criminal record including assault occasioning actual bodily harm — Betka due to be sentenced for terrorism related offence — contrition — offenders gave account in proceedings of contrition remorse and regret at having involved themselves in offending — allowed for finding of component of contrition — guilty plea — s16A(2)(g) — pleas were entered in what presents as strong prosecution case — sentencing judge reduced discount to be given in consideration of factors informing pleas — when sentencing court is persuaded that timing of plea reflects willingness to facilitate course of justice finding should find expressions in reasons for sentence — where Court does not make that finding or not otherwise satisfied that evidence allows for finding of subjective willingness to facilitate course of justice utilitarian value of plea should not be diminished — Court should move to resentence offenders allowing 25% discount for utilitarian value of pleas — Betka’s assistance to authorities attracting combined discount of 30% — character — s 16A(2)(m) — nothing in sentencing reasons indicates that Ghazaoui’s prior character was given any weight in sentencing exercise whether by finding that specific deterrence reduced or prospects of rehabilitation increased or that leniency should be afforded as first-time offender — Ghazaoui had benefit of finding of good character — rehabilitation — s 16A(2)(n) — Ghazoui’s prospects of rehabilitation are sound having regard to prior good character age and mental health at time of offending — unable to express same degree of confidence in assessing Hawchar’s prospects of rehabilitation given that offence was committed whilst on parole for another serious offence — since arrest Hawchar has shown commitment to family and community allowing for finding that prospects of rehabilitation are reasonable — same finding made for Betka’s prospects of rehabilitation and risk of reoffending — appeal allowed sentences quashed — offenders resentenced — Ghazoui sentenced to 2 years’ and 3 months imprisonment with 1 year and 1 month non-parole period — Hawchar sentenced to 2 years’ and 4 months imprisonment with 1 year and 1 month non-parole period — Betka sentenced to 6 years’ imprisonment with 3 year and 6 month non-parole period    
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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