Returned iPhone 14, seized by customs

In early November 2023, a citizen of the United States purchased an iPhone 14 and sent it to Ukraine. By mid-December 2023, a customs inspector at the "UkrPoshta" customs post in Kyiv had drawn up a customs violation protocol against this American citizen, who resides permanently in the United States and does not speak Ukrainian.

To prevent the unwarranted confiscation of the phone and to represent the interests in the Solomyansky District Court during the examination of the protocol, the American citizen turned to the Law Association "Disputes".

The defense of the client against the administrative charge in this case was carried out by lawyer Dmytro Medvedev.

After reviewing the submitted documents, the law firm formulated a legal position stating that the American citizen is not a resident of Ukraine, not a subject of the incriminated administrative offense, and the confiscated item was sent without concealment with an invoice for the purchase, not intended for commercial use, and meant for personal use along with candies, chewing gums, dried meat, and other items in the shipment.

The administrative case file included certified translations of medical documents regarding certain medical conditions of the American citizen, confirming that his right side is completely paralyzed and that he must take several medications affecting the nervous system daily, including four types of prescription painkillers regulated by competent authorities in the USA. Some of these medications are used to combat disordered thinking and confusion. On the day of the package dispatch, he clearly was NOT able to think clearly and fully, which inadvertently led to an incomplete customs declaration about the shipment's content with NO intention of providing false information.

Additionally, a local hospital certificate established that the American citizen had suffered a stroke several years ago, resulting in right-sided hemiparesis and subsequently caused contracture of the muscles in his right hand and the formation of calluses on his right foot due to uneven load on it. He also suffers from chronic pain due to complications post-stroke, has medically controlled hypertension, underwent gastric bypass surgery, and recently had an intestinal obstruction that required surgical intervention, followed by a colectomy, after which a complication of delayed wound healing occurred, which was difficult to treat due to a concomitant abdominal hernia.

The patient also has type 2 diabetes, controlled by a special diet and weight management measures, suffers from bilateral gonarthrosis, which also limits his mobility and requires special procedures to alleviate pain, as at the moment, knee joint endoprosthesis is not recommended for the patient.

The American citizen also has a disabled parking permit.

Objections against the charges of committing an administrative offense were normatively justified by the following violations committed during the protocol compilation:

  • In the absence of the defendant and his defender;
  • Without explaining the rights to the person being charged;
  • Without the involvement of an interpreter;
  • Without notifying about the protocol compilation;
  • Depriving the opportunity to provide explanations by the person being charged;
  • Without drawing up a report on the inspection of the confiscated property;
  • Lacking appropriate admissible evidence confirming improper conduct;
  • Depriving the right to resolve the administrative case through compromise;
  • Depriving the right to professional legal assistance;
  • Not adhering to the established legal procedure and taking a formal approach.

The court took into account that for determining the composition of the incriminated offense, it is necessary to consider that goods and vehicles must be of commercial intent and such that must be declared when moving across the Ukrainian border. Other goods and vehicles, if presented in full for customs control before the start of customs inspection, even if not recorded by the owner in the customs declaration, should not be considered as moving with violations of customs rules. These goods and vehicles are improperly documented and may not be allowed through but should not be considered as items violating customs rules.

These arguments proved sufficient for the Solomyansky court of Kyiv to cancel the protocol on customs rule violations and return the confiscated mobile phone iPhone 14 to the recipient.