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'Heavy smokers' say €5k tobacco is for themselves

February 23rd, 2024 12:16 PM

By Southern Star Team

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A COUPLE who are ‘heavy smokers’ are facing fines of €2,500 each after they ordered tobacco online claiming that they didn’t know what they were doing was wrong, a court heard.

Andrejs Maksimovies of Belrose, Innishannon and Santa Makismovica of the same address both pleaded guilty to the offences at a recent sitting of Bandon District Court.

Customs officer Aidan McSweeney told Judge John King that on October 11th, 2022 the tobacco, which was addressed to them, was discovered by custom officers. The following day the tobacco was delivered to their address.

When custom officers carried out a search of their home, they found 6.74kgs of fine cut tobacco with a total value of over €5,000.

‘While being interviewed under caution, they admitted the offences,’ said Mr McSweeney.

Solicitor Clodagh Grace, from the State solicitor’s office, said both defendants admitted to the importation of the tobacco while both had no previous convictions and were co-operative. She said the minimum fine that the court can impose is €2,500, while the maximum is €5,000.

Defence solicitor Derry Condon said both his clients accept that they bought the tobacco but are adamant that they didn’t know what they were doing was wrong when they ordered the tobacco online from Latvia.

‘When Santa ordered the tobacco, it was bought for her own personal use. Both are heavy smokers as is their adult daughter and the tobacco was to last them for five to six months,’ said Mr Condon.

Judge King said he wasn’t ‘overtly impressed’ by the instruction Mr Condon received, while Mr Condon pointed out that they are on limited means with three children and that Andrejs is the main breadwinner.

The court was told that one fine can’t be taken into consideration because both are separate defendants. Judge King said he would defer conviction and give one of the defendants six months to come up with €2,500. Once that is paid he will adjourn for a further six months to give the other defendant a chance to come up with another €2,500.

‘If they don’t comply with this then the court reserves its position to increase the fines,’ said Judge King, who adjourned the case to the July 19th sitting of the court.

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