Hicksons Consultant, Derek Luxford, article featured in Maritime Risk International

Australian Court throws out hazardous waste prosecution for lack of evidence

Prosecutions of environmental offenders under the Basel Convention on the Control of Transboundary Movements of Hazardous Waste and their Disposal (“the Convention”) are rare.  An Australian court recently threw out a prosecution against an Australian exporter of scrap lithium ion batteries from Australia to Belgium on the basis that the prosecution had failed to lead any evidence that the batteries constituted “hazardous waste” within the meaning of that term under the Australian Hazardous Waste (Regulation of Exports and Imports) Act 1989 which incorporates the Convention and the related OECD decision (“the Decision”) into Australian domestic law. 

The judgment was a decision of a magistrate in the Local Court of New South Wales in Sydney.  It was the first prosecution under the HWA in Australia.  It is sometimes said that it is very difficult for a corporate defendant facing an environmental regulatory prosecution to succeed in a criminal prosecution.  This judgment demonstrates this is not necessarily so and reiterates a basic principle of criminal law namely that the prosecution must prove its case beyond reasonable doubt.

View the full article here.

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