Bevins v NZ Customs Service, 2010 DC Auckland, Hubble DCJ
This was a successful appeal against the NZ Customs Service, documented in Bevins v New Zealand Customs Service, 2010 DC Auckland, Hubble DCJ.
Mr Bevins privately imported a rifle into New Zealand having obtained the correct permit. The Canadian exporter labelled the package "sporting goods" and attached the permit and all customs declarations in a sealed envelope clearly visible and marked "Customs Documents" on the package.
The packaging on the rifle was of a type designed not to advertise the nature of the goods; for the obvious reason to prevent firearms falling into the wrong hands.
Despite this, Customs claimed the goods were incorrectly described, and that they were not under any obligation to take notice of the documents, but could simply rely on the "Customs Declaration" which accompanies every item; in this case it referred to the firearm as "sporting goods".
Granting the appeal, the Judge commented on the dangers of openly labelling a firearm and the dangers that would ensue, and that Customs should have taken proper notice of the envelope containing the essential documentation.
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