Cannabis grower sentenced

Last updated 12:12 19/12/2012

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When police raided a young man's house they found a cache of cannabis and a loaded firearm.

The drugs and the gun belonged to Damian William Hart, 23, who was today sentenced to 10 months' home detention.

The police search took place on August 23.

"You were growing inside your house in Dannevirke quite a number of cannabis plants. In one bedroom there was 50 plants, each one up to 50 centimetres tall," Judge David Smith told Hart in the Palmerston North District Court.

"You had cannabis drying from ropes. In another bedroom there was another seven plants."

And in the washhouse there was another five and three seedlings.

Police also found dried cannabis head and snap lock bags. Hart claimed the drug was for his own use.

"If that's so it's not surprising you are struggling to maintain employment," Judge Smith said.

Defence lawyer Andru Isac said Hart's mental health difficulties and loss of employment put him on the wrong path.

"Rather than relying on medical assistance he self-medicated," Mr Isac said. 

"It would appear a year or two ago Hart was an employed, productive, responsible member of his local community."

Hart had a loaded gun because was intimidated by a "dangerous man" who had tried to break in at least once before, Mr Isac said.

Judge Smith warned Hart about using cannabis, saying it could cause damage to a person's mental development.

On one charge each of cultivating cannabis and unlawfully possessing a firearm, Hart was also ordered to do 100 hours' community work.

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- Manawatu Standard

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