fraudulent evasion

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An offence under s 170 of the Customs and Excise Management Act 1979 which prohibits evasion of payment of duty on imported goods or evasion of a prohibition or restriction on the import/export of goods. Under s 170(1), it must be shown that the accused knowingly performed certain acts with intent to defraud Her Majesty or with intent to evade a relevant prohibition or restriction. In relation to knowingly harbouring goods, it is usually enough to show that goods which were subject to duty were found in the possession of the accused. Under s 170(2), the word ‘fraudulent’ means dishonest conduct ‘deliberately intended to evade the prohibition or restriction with respect to, or the duty chargeable on, goods as the case may be’: per Lord Lane CJ in Attorney‐General's Reference (No 1 of1981) [1982] QB 848. The offence includes more than merely entering the UK with goods concealed and with no intention of declaring them; it extends to any offending conduct which was directed and intended to lead to the prohibited importation. Offences under s 170 are continuing offences because, by definition, the evasion of a prohibition or restriction often involves a continuing series of events and is rarely limited to the moment of importation itself; ‘it includes anyone who acquires possession of goods unlawfully removed from a warehouse, or anyone who hides goods on which duty has not been paid, or anyone who carries goods the importation of which is forbidden’: per Griffiths LJ in R v Neal 77 Cr App R 283. See also controlled drugs.

Subjects: Law.

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