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The Queen v Sackl [2022] VCC 796

The offender was sentenced following pleas of guilty to 10 counts of delivering false or misleading information relating to a non-citizen contrary to s 234(1)(c) of the Migration Act 1958 (Cth) and 3 counts of presenting a false or forged document contrary to s 234(1)(a) of the Migration Act 1958 (Cth).

Nature and Circumstances: Offending was of a type that could undermine the integrity of this system. False information was provided in the course of offender conducting a business where they stood to gain financially from the filing of visa applications. Offending was beyond mere inadvertence or incompetence. Offender had concealed the involvement of their companies in the application process, which in turn shielded them from regulatory scrutiny. Offender was the Managing Director and CEO of both companies and  personally culpable for the false information provided to the applicants in the documents. It is significant that the dishonesty on this point was repeated on multiple occasions over the course of about 5 months. Overall, offender’s conduct was repeatedly and significantly below the standard of integrity required of those providing information pursuant to visa applications.

Contrition: When first interviewed by police, offender conceded that they knew that the representation on the forms was false. They did, however, diminish the gravity of this conduct by describing it as something done naughtily. Offender provided the Court with a letter of apology which is genuine in its sentiments. Offender has some remorse for their actions.

Delay: The matter has been the subject of extraordinary delay. Offending concluded in early 2013 and offender was charged in 2017. Offender has had the spectre of these charges hanging over them since their interview more than 8 years ago. This delay was inordinate and is a punishment in itself. The delay also means that offender’s good behaviour over a long period subsequent to the offending becomes a very significant matter in mitigation.

Rehabilitation: Offender has no prior or subsequent convictions or findings of guilt. They were relatively youthful at the time of the offending. The offending ceased well before any police involvement. Offender is in the process of seeking to re-establish themself after their period of bankruptcy finishes. Offender’s prospects of rehabilitation are very good.

Hardship: The finding of guilt on these charges will have the effect of disqualifying offender from being a director of a company for a significant period. This inevitable outcome will hinder offender’s business prospects and represents a form of extra-curial punishment. It was not contended that hardship to offender’s family, in particularly their four children under 10, amounted to ‘exceptional’ hardship such as to make it a permissible consideration in accordance with Victorian law as expressed in Markovic v The Queen. The Court could not apply Totaan v The Queen for this reason.

Offender was sentenced to a Community Corrections Order for 3 years with a special condition of performing 250 hours of community work.
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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