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DPP v Jirjees [2020] VCC 1637

sentence — bribery of Commonwealth public official — nature and circumstances — s 16A(2)(a) — offence is by its nature serious offence — Australian border security depends on integrity of Customs officers who are sentinels of system — bribery and corruption of public officials is an anathema to rule of law and good government — bribe proposed as part of wider plan of criminal conduct — offender proposed ongoing illicit relationship where Commonwealth official would become integral player in proposed serious ongoing criminal conduct — crime was entirely financially motivated — with proposed imports of over 200 kg of tobacco per week offender sought to evade between approximately $218,000 to $270,000 in excise duty per week — offender planned meeting with official and chose target with whom they were familiar — offender chose to exploit what they believed was a friendship with official — no money or benefit was actually paid or even specified — offender did not propose follow-up meeting or undertake follow-up contact — offender did not engage in proposed wider criminal conduct of evading excise duty — moral culpability is high — no one else involved in scheme — sentencing judge did not accept that moral culpability was in any way influenced by offender’s upbringing or by any misunderstanding that corruption and bribery is necessary part of everyday life in Australia — after issue of four infringement notices in relation to applicable duties offender was not dissuaded from further conduct attempting to avoid payment of applicable duties in future importing of tobacco — mental condition — s 16A(2)(g) — offender did not qualify as meeting criteria for PTSD but did present with significant features of PTSD — offender’s cognitive and adaptive functioning is within range of mild to borderline intellectual disability — antecedents — s 16A(2)(m) — sentencing judge cannot ignore personal circumstances background and upbringing though these matters play much lesser role in sentencing consideration — rehabilitation — s 16A(2)(n) — very good prospects of rehabilitation — offender has solid work history and solid pro-social support of family — determination displayed to get to Australia to make better life for themselves — offender had worked hard through adversity to achieve better life — offender sentenced to 20 months’ imprisonment to be served via recognisance release order
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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