Section 233 Customs Act 1901 | Smuggling, Importation and Exportation


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The Legislation

Section 233 of the Customs Act 1901 (Cth) deals with Smuggling, Importation and Exportation and is extracted below.

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233 Smuggling and unlawful importation and exportation

(1) A person shall not:

(a) smuggle any goods; or
(b) import any prohibited imports; or
(c) export any prohibited exports; or
(d) unlawfully convey or have in his or her possession any smuggled goods or prohibited imports or prohibited exports.

(1AA) A person who contravenes subsection (1) is guilty of an offence punishable upon conviction:

(a) in the case of an offence against paragraph (1)(a) or an offence against paragraph (1)(d) in relation to smuggled goods—as provided by subsection 233AB(1); or
(b) in any other case—as provided by subsection 233AB(2).

(1AB) Subsection (1AA) is an offence of strict liability, to the extent that it relates to paragraphs (1)(b), (c) and (d).

Note: For strict liability, see section 6.1 of the Criminal Code.

(2) It shall not be lawful for any person to convey or have in his or her possession without reasonable excuse (proof whereof shall lie upon him or her) any smuggled goods or prohibited imports.

(3) It shall not be lawful for any person to convey or have in his or her possession any prohibited exports with intent to export them or knowing that they are intended to be unlawfully exported.

(4) Merchandise on board a ship or aircraft calling at any port or airport in Australia, but intended for and consigned to some port or airport or place outside Australia, shall not be deemed to be unlawfully imported into Australia if the goods are specified on the ship’s or aircraft’s manifest and are not transhipped or landed in Australia or are transhipped or landed by authority.

(5) This section does not apply to, or in relation to, narcotic goods.

(6) The Minister must lay before each House of the Parliament, not later than the first sitting day of that House after 1 October each year, a report about any conduct by Customs officers that, apart from subsection 233BABA(1), would constitute an offence against a law of the Commonwealth or of a State or Territory relating to the possession or conveyance, or facilitation of the conveyance, of prohibited imports, prohibited exports or smuggled goods.