Judge warns man off guns and cannabis

A Manawatu man who grew 25 cannabis plants has been told never to go near the drug again.

Andrew John Hunter, 31, was sentenced in the Palmerston North District Court yesterday on charges of cultivating cannabis and unlawfully possessing a firearm.

A police search of Hunter's home on March 18 uncovered plants growing outdoors and in a shed, of various heights up to 1.7 metres.

A loaded and unlicensed .22 rifle, along with more ammunition, was found under Hunter's bed.

Defence lawyer Mike Ryan said Hunter's use of cannabis was for medicinal purposes after an ankle injury, and the rifle was used for hunting rabbits and possums.

However, Judge Barbara Morris did not accept that as a reason to have an unlicensed gun. She noted Hunter had been charged with similar offences before, but now was undergoing counselling.

Hunter was sentenced to four months of home detention, and was warned by the judge: "You would be very well advised never to go near guns or cannabis again."

Manawatu Standard