Acquitted of charge of attempted smuggling of amount of Malta banned cigarettes
The Court of Appeal has confirmed a not guilty sentence against a Maltese boat captain who was accused that in April 2012 he tried to smuggle banned cigarettes in the local market.
Charles Grech was acquitted from charges that upon arrival in Malta from Misurata, in Libya, on the launch Mae Yemanja, he was in possession of 2,200 gross of cigarettes with a value of €13,241 and with excise duty amounting to €60,271, while €7,627 and €14,605 in VAT were not paid.
Grech was not found guilty in the lower court on the charges, however the Attorney General had appealed the sentence. Grech, captain and owner of the launch, was using the MV Mae Yemanja for business in tobacco between Cyprus and Libya.
The Court of Appeal stated that it has suspicions on Grech’s thesis, including his credibility however as he was aware that the Capital and Walton cigarettes were not sold in Malta, he did not have the intention of smuggling them in Malta and were left on board as they were not unloaded in Libya due to bad weather.
Therefore, Judge Consuelo Scerri Herrera confirmed the Magistrate’s Court sentence to acquit Charles Grech from every charge.