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Comptroller-General of Customs v Jenner [2023] VCC 93

The offender was sentenced for 1 count of smuggling goods contrary to s 233(1)(a) of the Customs Act 1901 (Cth), 1 count of evading payment of a duty that is payable on tobacco products pursuant to s 234(1) of the Customs Act 1901 (Cth), and 1 count of making a false statement to an officer pursuant to s 234(1)(d) of the Customs Act 1901 (Cth).

Nature and Circumstances: Offender’s suitcases contained 80,420 cigarette sticks. The total duty payable was $65,763.46. Offending was very unsophisticated and offender was always going to come to the attention of the ABF. Offender was being used as a ‘mule’ to bring the cigarettes past customs. It is overall serious offending.

Rehabilitation: References speak clearly and unequivocally about the ‘one mistake’ offender made in respect of this offending and their remorse for it. Offender’s financial position is dire. Offender has no prior convictions or subsequent charges and is a 24-year-old single parent of a 2-and-a-half-year-old son. Offender’s remorse is genuine. In the almost 4 years since offending, offender has turned their life around. Offender has no prior or subsequent criminal convictions.

Mental Condition: At the time of offending, offender was 21 years of age. Offender was in an abusive, controlling and sexually abusive domestic relationship in the period prior to their offending. After offending, offender attempted to take their own life and was hospitalised as a result. At the time of offending, offender was suffering from a mental health diagnosis requiring the prescription of anti-depressant medication. Offender has reduced moral culpability for offending due to their mental state at the time.

Totality: There is an overlap between the conduct of offender which satisfies the elements of one offence and constituted a set of facts that prove an element of another offence. The making of a false statement is not only an offence on its own but is also conduct that is integral to the offence of smuggling and the evasion of duty.

Offender discharged without proceeding to conviction on security of $1,000 to be of good behaviour for 18 months and to make reparation in the amount of $1,000.
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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