Border Force has been ordered to pay for 100% of the defendants costs after the seizure of more than 16,000 litres of wine over fears of customs evasion was ruled unlawful.
Tajinder Barring, DPP Business & Tax solicitor, acted on the case for an established drinks supplier from whom Border Force seized a full lorry.
Back in May 2018, Border Force officials at Anglesey Port stopped and inspected a vehicle carrying over 16,000 litres of wine coming from Ireland.
The officers believed there was a possibility of an attempt to evade excise duty, as they suspected the vehicle was not destined for France, as the driver had suggested.
Border Force contended that “an offence had been committed in respect of the goods by a person who had knowingly been concerned in the taking of steps with a view to the fraudulent evasion of excise duty” and therefore the wine was liable to forfeiture.
A District Judge at Llandudno Magistrates court ordered the wine to be confiscated and disposed of last June.
Cork-based Euromax Commodities, the company who organised the shipment, appealed against the decision, with the help of DPP Business and Tax.
“There was no suggestion duty would be evaded”
After a three day hearing in Caernarfon Crown Court, Border Force’s case was roundly rejected. The Court ruled that the seizure of a shipment of wine should not have happened, and there was no suggestion that duty would be evaded.
Judge Huw Rees said, upon announcing the court’s decision, that Euromax Commodities was a reputable company and the decision to stop the vehicle was because it had been seized previously.
Since then, the vehicle has been sold and the ownership of the vehicle and the company’s operating license was questioned, but was not relevant to the ruling.
The court has ordered the UK Border Force to pay the costs of the appellant, which could include compensation of wine that was now out of date or disposed of.
Are you being accused of excise or duty evasion? Has HMRC or the Border Force seized your goods? Contact the experienced solicitors at DPP Business & Tax to see how we can help you get the best possible outcome.
Source: North Wales Live
Photo © Malcolm Neal (cc-by-sa/2.0)