22 Dec 2016

Customs returns seized tobacco to grower

2:18 pm on 22 December 2016

The High Court has ordered Customs to return almost five tonnes of tobacco it seized from a Motueka grower six years ago.

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Tobacco leaves. Photo: SUPPLIED

Lawrence Jury and another person were jointly convicted in 2012 of manufacturing tobacco, but Mr Jury's conviction was later quashed.

Legal steps to have the tobacco returned were rejected by the Customs Appeal Authority.

It maintained Mr Jury's efforts to sell the cured tobacco for illegal manufacture were to avoid excise duty of about $3.3 million.

Mr Jury said he was not sure that the latest court decision was the end of the matter and he was waiting to see whether Customs would appeal.