Dad and son cleared of duty-free beer charges

Free to go: (From left) Haresh speaking to Kartik and Aplanayara outside the courthouse as Ramzani looks on.

SEREMBAN: A father and son walked free from the High Court after the prosecution decided to withdraw an appeal to challenge the decision of a lower court, which had acquitted and discharged the duo for allegedly possessing duty-free beer.

Judge Datuk Rohani Ismail dismissed the case after deputy public prosecutor Mohd Erei Yuskha Mohd Yusof said the prosecution decided not to appeal following a representation filed by P. Aplanayara, 67, and his businessman son A. Kartik, 37.

On Oct 12 last year, the Kuala Pilah Magistrate’s Court acquitted and discharged the duo on a charge of possessing 1,248 cans of beer without paying duty.

Magistrate Saiful Sayoti ruled that the prosecution had failed to establish a prima facie case against them.

The prosecution, he said, had failed to establish if both the accused had contraband beer and if they were the owners of the premises from which it was seized.

The duo were charged with being in possession of the beer worth RM3,368.16 without prior approval from the Customs Department.

They were accused of committing the offence at 9.30pm on Feb 20, 2020, at a house in Taman Sri Gelugor here.

They were charged under Section 135(1) (d) of the Customs Act 1967, an offence punishable under Section 135(1) (v) (aa) of the same legislation.

Offenders can be fined 10 times the value of the goods or RM100,000, whichever is higher, or jailed between six months and five years, or both, upon conviction.

For the second charge, it was said the accused had failed to prove that the excise duty on the cans amounting to RM13,011.60 had been paid as required under Section 74(1) (a) of the Excise Act 1976.

The offence is punishable under Section 74(1) (iv) (A) of the same Act.

When met outside the court, counsel for the accused, Haresh Mahadevan, said the respondents had filed a representation with the DPP’s office two months ago to reconsider their decision to appeal.

“In our representation, we had mentioned that there were glaring issues in the case, which had been raised at the lower court, leading to the magistrate deciding in our favour,” he said.

Haresh, who was assisted by Ramzani Idris, said this included missing exhibits and certain protocols related to the case that were not complied with.

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