CUSTOMS SECURITY FOR DUTY ON SHIPS' STORES : REMOVAL TO KING'S WAREHOUSE : BREAKING OF SEALS : CLEARANCE OF SHIP : PROSECUTION OF MASTER
CUSTOMS ACT 1901, ss. 119, 122
As regards the memo of the Comptroller-General of this date, I advise as follows:
I approve of his alternative directions contained in the first paragraph, and numbered (a) to (e). As regards police court prosecutions, in the case of vessels, on the voyage inwards from parts beyond the sea, they should be by summons in the first instance; in the case of vessels on the return voyage, by warrant, as the master is leaving the jurisdiction.
The officers have power to remove the unsealed stores, upon which duty is not paid while in port, to a King's warehouse. I do not see why if this be not done foreign ships 'will be practically having their stores duty free'. If the master is made to answer the necessary questions, the duty on all stores consumed can be sued for as soon as the Tariff Act is passed.
The security asked for should be absolute. There can be no doubt of the power to charge duties on ships' stores, even in the unlikely event of Kingston v. Gadd(1) being reversed on the question of entering a port with seals broken.
The power of the Customs to secure goods extends, when security to pay duty is refused, to taking the stores out at Fremantle and holding them until the return voyage.
Clearance should not (pending the Tariff Act) be denied on ground of refusing to pay duty, because payment of duty is not yet required by law. But clearance may be refused (section 122) for any non-compliance with the requirements of the Customs Act regarding the ship. These requirements include the giving of security for compliance with the Act and for the protection of the revenue.
At any port except the last port of departure from the Commonwealth, clearance can be refused unless security is given that seals will not be broken. At the last port clearance should only be refused under section 119. Of course this is a power to be used with great discretion.
[Vol. 1, p. 229]
(1) 27 V.L.R. 417.