James Thacker led Frederick Hookway (of 2 Harcourt Buildings) at Maidstone Crown Court in a HMRC fraudulent evasion of duty upon tobacco case. A total of 742.5kg of hand rolling tobacco was smuggled into the UK with the assistance of a HGV whilst others assisted in the purchase, packaging and transfer of the tobacco and thereafter followed their substantial investment to a secluded business park in Kent where it was in the process of being transferred into other vehicles for onward distribution and sale. All seven defendants were convicted either by their change of plea prior to the jury being sworn or after trial. HHJ MacDonald QC sentenced the defendants to between 16 months’ and 21 months’ immediate custody despite two defendants being in their teens at the time of the offence, two defendants caring for unwell relatives and one defendant medically unwell.
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