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R v Georgiou [2020] VCC 502

sentence — 1 count of dishonestly causing loss to Commonwealth offence contrary to s 135.1(3) of the Commonwealth Criminal Code, 1 count of dishonestly causing a loss or risk of loss to Commonwealth knowing or believing there was a substantial risk of loss occurring offence contrary to s 131.1(5) of the Commonwealth Criminal Code — offences relate to $20,577 and $367,753 respectively — nature and circumstances of the offence — s 16A(2)(a) — involvement motivated by combination of loyal obedience to ACG corporate strategies and enhanced personal pursuit of career opportunities within ACG which to some extent lessens moral culpability — offender aware actively participating in substantial exercise which involved receipt of untaxed cash wages by large number of guards under four payrolls — moral culpability is moderately high — were it not for matters personal to offender, would have been found to be a serious example of offence and very high moral culpability — contrition — s 16A(2)(f) — reparation — s 16A(2)(f)(ii) — offender offered to repay $20,577 to the ATO — sentencing judge accepted that offender demonstrated true contrition and remorse for offending conduct — general deterrence — s 16A(2)(ja) —  detection more difficult by payment of cash wages and employment of sub-contractors, shifting tax burden to entities which did not take responsibility for payment of taxation obligations — investigation and prosecution of fraudulent scheme was complex, difficult, time consuming and resource intensive — guilty plea — s 16A(2)(g) — pleas entered at earliest forensically reasonable opportunity and offender was entitled to have this taken into account — significant utilitarian benefit considering likely length and complexity of any trial and large number of witnesses who would have needed to be called — offender was first of those involved in tax avoidance scheme to plead guilty — pleas also indicate an acceptance of responsibility for offending conduct and willingness to facilitate course of justice — delay — considerable systemic delay occasioned by progress of proceedings through court individual circumstances of judge and effect of COVID-19 pandemic —offender has had matters hanging over them for period of well over five years — delay calls for significant leniency to be extended — rehabilitation — s 16A(2)(n) — as far as rehabilitation during period of delay is concerned offender has lived exemplary life and prospects of rehabilitation are very good — offender’s family and dependants — s 16A(2)(p) — offender is mother’s primary carer, has had significant adverse effects on offender emotionally, mentally and to some extent physically — COVID-19 crisis has heightened offender’s concerns for wellbeing of parents — this is not a case where these circumstances warrant separate consideration outside conventional sentencing framework — concerns regarding welfare of parents would increase burden of imprisonment on offender — burden is more significant because current COVID-19 crisis means concern regarding parents’ situation would be elevated by reason of increased risk factors — mental condition — s 16A(2)(m) —  no mental condition offender may have been suffering at time of committing offences was in any way causative of offending conduct — all of offender’s current mental condition are either entirely reactive to current circumstances or have been significantly exacerbated by them — Verdins principle 5 engaged to some extent as offender’s depression and anxiety would have cumulative effect on their concern for mother’s predicament and inability to care and support her while serving custodial sentence — any sentence of imprisonment would weigh more heavily even if offender did not have psychological condition — specific deterrence — s 16A(2)(j) —  offender has learnt salutary lesson from investigation and prosecution of crime and is unlikely to reoffend — protective factor of living at home with aged parents whom offender cares for and supports — very little weight given to specific deterrence and community protection — sentence — imposed 3 years’ imprisonment, offender released immediately on recognisance release order and $5000 fine — s 6AAA — sentencing judge would have imposed sentence of 5 years and 6 months imprisonment with 3 year and 8 month non-parole period but for offender’s guilty plea
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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