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DPP v Jabal [2020] VCC 1222

sentence — importing tobacco products with intention of defrauding revenue contrary to s 233BABAD(1) Customs Act 1901 and s 11.2A Commonwealth Criminal Code — offence related to 3245 kg of molasses tobacco — mental condition — s 16A(2)(m) — offender has long history of psychological problems for which they were managed with antipsychotic and antidepressant medication — offender has history of heavy drinking and heavy consumption of cannabis but told psychologist they ceased all drug use two years ago — psychologist formed view that prospect of further term of imprisonment appears to have rekindled range of traumatic memories — psychologist anticipates this will render any time in custody more difficult than is typically case for individual who does not have history of trauma — while current symptoms not sufficient to meet diagnosis of PTSD they were nevertheless significant and merit diagnosis of PTSD in partial remission — offender carries with them the trauma experienced in jail in Kuwait and Iraq — trauma has undermined psychological wellbeing and quality of life ever since — prospect of enduring further imprisonment would be particularly burdensome — antecedents — s 16A(2)(m) — offender has some criminal history — in 2004 offender convicted and fined for possession and use of drug of dependence — in 2010 offender convicted and fined for four charges of obtaining financial advantage by deception — matters have some limited relevance but should not greatly impact on sentencing — nature and circumstances — s 16A(2)(a) — offender was principal in sophisticated criminal enterprise to evade $2.75 million in duties and taxes — there is no direct evidence as to what offender stood to gain beyond evasion of taxes but it can be readily inferred that offender calculated risk taken in committing offence was worth their while — COVID-19 — prospect of imprisonment would be all the more acute because of restrictions arising from COVID-19 pandemic particularly those as to quarantine lack of visits and programs and anxiety associated with potential exposure to infection — guilty plea — s 16A(2)(g) — plea does merit substantial reduction in sentence despite its late entry — this would not have been straightforward trial and saving to community by plea was likely considerable — offending of this kind will ordinarily result in custodial sentences and case is no exception — offender sentenced to 2 years’ and 9 months imprisonment with 15 month non-parole period — s 6AAA — but for plea of guilty offender would have been sentenced to 4 years’ imprisonment with 2 year and 6 month non-parole period    
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