On Friday, 31 August 2018, Henry Sabbah was sentenced to 3 years and 6 months’ jail by her Honour Judge Girdham SC, after he was found with a satchel containing $31,550 in counterfeit $50 banknotes in April 2016.
On 14 April 2016, Sabbah, a 45 year old Canadian national, was searched by members of NSW Police at Redfern Railway Station, after he was seen slamming the handset of a payphone located immediately across from the Redfern Police Station. At the time of the offence, Mr Sabbah was subject to a Firearms Prohibition Order and bail in respect of other matters.
When NSW Police searched the satchel bag that Sabbah had strapped across his body, they located seven large bundles of neatly tied $50 banknotes, which were found to be counterfeit.
While counting the banknotes, NSW Police observed that they were covered in a white powdery substance, similar to talcum powder, emitted a chemical smell, and were bleeding ink at the edges.
Subsequent investigations by NSW Police revealed that Sabbah had purported to pay an Uber driver $350 using seven counterfeit banknotes, two days prior to his arrest.
A Counterfeit Scientist from the Reserve Bank of Australia examined the counterfeit banknotes and determined that the banknotes Sabbah gave to the Uber driver were consistent with those found in his possession.
On 13 April 2016, Sabbah’s Apple iPhone 4S was used to take photos of a bundle of Australian $50 banknotes, consistent with the bundles found on him the following day.
Her Honour Judge Girdham SC commented that this was a grave and serious example of offending of this kind, which was premeditated and motivated by financial gain. Her Honour found that Sabbah was a trusted courier with knowledge of the broader criminal enterprise.
Sabbah was sentenced to 3 years and 6 months’ imprisonment in relation to the possession of counterfeit money, contrary to section 9(1)(a) of the Crimes Act (Currency) Act 1981 (Cth).
A non-parole period of 2 years and 6 months was imposed.
Sabbah is presently serving a sentence of imprisonment and will not be eligible for release until May 2021.