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Mackle v Northern Ireland

In Mackle v Northern Ireland ([2014] UKSC 5 – 29 January) the defendants had all pleaded guilty to the offence of being knowingly concerned in the fraudulent evasion of duty on goods (CEMA 1970 s 170(2)(a)) in relation to cigarettes imported by sea.

They all consented to confiscation orders equal to the amount of duty which had been evaded.

The court noted that a person cannot be liable to pay duty on tobacco imported by sea in a ship unless one of two conditions is satisfied: either he must be ‘holding’ the tobacco at the excise duty point; or he must both have ‘caused’ the tobacco products to reach the excise duty point and he must also have retained a connection with the goods at that point. As these two conditions were not satisfied the defendants were not liable to the duty.

Confiscation had been sought on the...

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