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DPP v Meng [2023] VCC 439

The offender was sentenced following pleas of guilty to 2 counts of dealing with money in excess of $100,000 reasonably suspected of being proceeds of crime contrary to s 400.9(1) of the Commonwealth Criminal Code, 1 count of jointly dealing with money in excess of $100,000 reasonably suspected of being proceeds of crime contrary to ss 11.2A(1) and 400.9(1) of the Commonwealth Criminal Code, 1 count of aiding, abetting, counselling or procuring the commission of an offence of dealing with money in excess of $100,000 or more reasonably suspected of being proceeds of crime contrary to ss 11.2(1) and 400.9(1) of the Commonwealth Criminal Code, 1 count of importing tobacco products with the intention of defrauding the revenue contrary to s 233BABAD(1) of the Customs Act 1901, 1 count of producing a false document to a reporting entity contrary to s 137(1) of the Anti-Money Laundering and Counter-Terrorism Financing Act 2006, and 1 count of escaping from a lawful federal criminal detention contrary to s 47(1) of the Crimes Act 1914.

Nature and Circumstances: Counts 1–3 and 6 (the proceeds of crime offences) involved offender operating with co-offender to launder money reasonably suspected of being proceeds of crime. The total quantum was $3,169,655. As is self-evident, the amount of money dealt with is many times the statutory threshold of $100,000. The false document offence involved a counterfeit People’s Republic of China passport to open the accounts used to launder money. The tobacco offence involved consignments containing 25.3 kilograms of cigarettes. The value of the duty payable and evaded was in the order of $11,775. Offender’s conduct on this count represents a relatively low level example of the offence. The escape count involved offender shrugging off the hold of an arresting officer before being intercepted and re-arrested by police.

Delay: It has been 2 and a half years since the time of offender’s arrest to the conclusion of the matter. The delay has not been attributable to offender who entered the plea of guilty at the committal stage. This delay has resulted in anxiety and uncertainty for offender. Further, during the period of delay offender has not reoffended, they have complied with bail conditions and remained employed. As such, delay is able to be taken into account in mitigation.

Hardship: The prospect of deportation is a matter that can be taken into account. As offender will be sentenced to a term of imprisonment, the possibility of deportation is a matter that will make the burden of imprisonment more onerous for them. However, as offender’s family has remained in China, any possible deportation will not have the effect of separating offender from their family and so is of limited application. As offender does not speak English and has no supports in Australia, their time in custody will be more onerous.

Cooperation: Pursuant to s 16AC, offender has given a sworn undertaking to cooperate in the future by giving evidence in the trial of their co-accused. Offender is entitled to a moderate discount as a result of their undertaking.

Offender sentenced to 2 years and 3 months imprisonment to be released after 12 months on recognizance of $3,000 to be of good behaviour for 3 years.
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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