Cannabis 'still an illegal drug' in NZ

Last updated 14:54 14/01/2014

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A 53-year-old Port Underwood man pleaded guilty to three drug-related charges in the Blenheim District Court yesterday.

Peter Andrew Collins admitted one charge of cultivating cannabis, one of possessing cannabis and one of possessing utensils for the consumption of cannabis.

Police prosecutor Sergeant Mark Harris told the court a large bush fire occurred on Tumbledown Bay Rd on December 21. The following day, a small cannabis plant was found growing among the bushes, however when police arrived later it was gone.

They made some inquiries and questioned Collins, who admitted the cannabis was his and took them to where it had been.

He had 55 cannabis seedlings ranging in height from 15 centimetres to 45cm. He also had 4 grams of cannabis seeds, a cannabis head and a cannabis bong.

Collins, who represented himself in court, told Judge Richard Russell that he used the cannabis because he suffered from migraines and it enabled him to keep working.

Judge Russell gave Collins credit for his guilty plea and acknowledged his reasons for using the drug but said cannabis was still an illegal drug in New Zealand. Collins was sentenced to 80 hours of community work and six months of supervision.

The judge also ordered the cannabis and utensils be destroyed.

Hemi Smith, 20, was remanded until March 14 for sentencing in the Dannevirke District Court after pleading guilty to three "wild west" driving-related charges yesterday. Judge Russell said he was not prepared to sentence the Picton man on the charges of drink-driving, dangerous driving and failing to stop for police until he had seen a pre-sentence report.

The police summary of facts said Smith was the driver of a vehicle clocked at 114kmh on Rapaura Rd, a 70kmh zone, by a highway patrol officer on December 30 at 9.19pm.

The officer tried to stop Smith but he kept driving, reaching speeds of 180kmh to 190kmh for 5 kilometres on Rapaura Rd.

Smith stopped the vehicle at the junction of Rapaura Rd and Hammerichs Rd to let a passenger out before speeding away again, reaching at least 180kmh in a 100kmh zone on Rapaura Rd, and not slowing down as he passed through an 80kmh zone.

As he approached the junction of Rapaura Rd and State Highway 6, Smith continued through the intersection, at not less than 60kmh. He struck a kerb before mounting a grass verge and continuing to drive north on SH6, again fleeing police at speeds in excess of 140kmh.

He continued to drive even after it became apparent he had damaged a tyre.

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The tyre was then completely lost and Smith continued to drive at speeds between 120kmh and 135kmh on the steel rim, before gradually reducing his speed after about 8km.

The vehicle finally came to a stop on SH6 at Okaramio.

Smith refused to get out of the vehicle, continuing to drink from alcohol containers which were in a box on the front passenger seat.

He was removed from the car with help from a police dog and was taken into custody.

A breath screening test showed Smith had an excess breath-alcohol level of 904 micrograms of alcohol per litre of breath.

The legal limit is 400mcg.

Judge Russell said the incident was "wild west" type driving and was "just dreadful stuff".

"It's just a miracle no-one was injured or killed," he said.

He warned Smith to make sure he behaved between now and his sentencing.

Jonathan James Bradley, 17, was sentenced on a charge of theft when he appeared in court yesterday.

Judge Russell said the Witherlea youth was at Whites Bay with an associate on November 23 about 3pm when they drove back towards Blenheim.

After dropping some friends off in Spring Creek, Bradley and his associate stopped at a roadside stall selling flowers about 3.50pm, where they stole $100 cash from the honesty box.

Judge Russell said the victim came out of her house and was yelling at Bradley and his associate to stop but they took off.

"I'm really concerned about the number of times you have been before the court and the kinds of trouble you get into," the judge said. "This was a really mean type of theft, it's an honesty box . . . the fact that you have come along, you and your co-offender, and simply ripped them off is in my view appalling behaviour."

He sentenced Bradley to two months of community detention with a daily curfew from 7pm until 7am, plus nine months of intensive supervision, and ordered him to pay $60 in reparations for his part in the offending.

The sentence will be judicially monitored and Judge Russell also disqualified Bradley from driving for two months because a vehicle was used to take him to and from the honesty box.

"You are heading down a slippery slope and unless you are able to turn this around . . . you are on a short slip to prison," Judge Russell said.

A 17-year-old youth pleaded not guilty to one charge of rape and one charge of having an unlawful sexual connection.

The Springlands youth, who has name suppression, will reappear on March 17 for a case review hearing.

Jimmy Laurence Hardwidge, 32, pleaded guilty to a charge of theft, one of resisting police and one of speaking threateningly in court yesterday.

Mr Harris said the Taupo farmer was in Fairweathers bar in Blenheim about 1am on January 10. His victim was also at the bar and left her bag unattended for a short time.

While it was unattended Hardwidge went into the bag and took out a cellphone, worth $300 and put the bag back. He left the bar and was later arrested by police in regards to a different matter.

He attempted to get away from the police officers, pushing and fighting his way out of their reach. As police restrained him they located the stolen phone on him.

Once he was in police custody Hardwidge continued to argue with police saying: "I'm going to hurt you, that's not a threat it's a promise", to a police officer.

Judge Russell fined Hardwidge $300 for the charge of resisting police, $300 for the charge of theft and $450 for the charge of speaking threateningly.

Hamish Alexander Donaldson, 23, pleaded guilty to a charge of sustained loss of traction when he appeared in court.

Mr Harris said the Witherlea labourer was driving on Milford St in Blenheim about 2.45pm on December 29.

As he approached the intersection of Milford St and Alana Pl he accelerated, causing the wheels of his vehicle to spin and screech loudly, before the vehicle did a 180-degree turn.

Judge Russell fined Donaldson $500, plus court costs, and disqualified him from driving for six months.

Sonia Kaare Love, 53, pleaded guilty to a charge of shoplifting after she stole two moisturisers from Pak 'n Save Blenheim.

Mr Harris said the Blenheim woman went into the supermarket about 4.30pm on December 6. She took two bottles of moisturiser from the shelf and removed them from the boxes, putting the bottles into her bag and the empty boxes back on the shelf.

She proceeded to the checkout, where she paid for the groceries in her trolley but not the bottles of moisturiser.

Judge Russell convicted Love, sentencing her to 40 hours of community work and ordering her to pay reparations of $32.38 for the products.

"If you can't pay for it, simply leave it alone," he told her.

Wayne Francis Robinson, 49, pleaded not guilty to three drug-related charges, and guilty to a further three when he appeared in court yesterday.

The Redwoodtown man will reappear on March 17 for a case review hearing on one charge of possession of cannabis for the purpose of supply, one of possession of methamphetamine and one of producing cannabis resin, to which he pleaded not guilty.

He will reappear on the same date in relation to the charges he has accepted, including one of cultivating cannabis, one of possession of LSD and one of possession of cannabis seeds.

James Kelly Smith, 18, was remanded for sentencing on a charge of breaching his community work. The Blenheim teenager will reappear on February 17.

Liva Kiliona, 28, and Tukia Fotu, 24, appeared in court together yesterday after being found unlawfully in a building.

Mr Harris said the Blenheim pair were on Nosworthy St on January 7 about 7.30pm and were very intoxicated.

They walked into an address and discovered no-one was home, so they entered the house through an unlocked door.

The pair were sitting on the couch at the house when the occupants came home.

They had a verbal altercation before Fotu and Kiliona left the address and were found by police shortly afterward.

Kiliona, of Springlands, was also charged with shoplifting after he took two bottles of bourbon from Blenheim Super Liquor.

Mr Harris said Kiliona entered the shop about 3.30pm on January 7 and went to the spirit section and picked up the two bottles, worth $87.98.

He then left the store carrying the two bottles, which he made no attempt to pay for.

Judge Russell told Kiliona he had received a letter from the probation service which recommended he sentence him to a term of imprisonment.

"You have failed to report 12 times and have got a number of community work hours still to complete," the judge said before remanding Kiliona for sentencing on February 17.

"If you want to avoid jail, you need to impress the living daylights out of your probation officer; you're on your last chance," the judge said.

Kiliona's associate, Tukia, was convicted and sentenced to 90 hours of community work.

The vineyard worker was also ordered to pay $250 in emotional harm to the owners of the house.

Amanda Lorraine Barr, 24, pleaded not guilty to a charge of common assault.

The Riversdale woman will reappear on February 24 for a case review hearing.

Matthew Damon Ross Wells was further remanded on a charge of male assaults female. He will reappear on March 10.

Raymond Edward Murray, 32, of Springlands, was remanded until January 27 on one charge of shoplifting and one charge of burglary.

Adam Michael Hubac, 18, was remanded until February 24 after pleading guilty to two charges of theft and one charge of possession of cannabis.

The Dunedin man pleaded not guilty to one charge of supplying cannabis and will appear on January 27 on that charge.

Andrew David Stuart, 50, and Henriette Kok, 44, appeared together and were remanded without plea on one charge each of theft over $1000. They will reappear on January 27.

Fatima Juanita Foley, 22, vacated a plea of not guilty to a charge of driving while her licence was revoked and replaced it with a plea of guilty.

Mr Harris said Foley was suspended from driving for three months and on October 18 was stopped while driving on State Highway 1 in Blenheim because of her speed.

When spoken to by police it was discovered she did not have a licence but Foley said she did not know it had been suspended.

Her lawyer, Kent Arnott, said his client had not fully understood the suspension notice but now did and acknowledged she was suspended at the time.

Judge Russell said he was going to cut Foley some slack and did not issue her a fine, instead disqualifying her from driving for six months.

"During that six months I want you to keep saving and as soon as you're eligible to get your licence back, you get in there and get your full licence," he said.

Lesley Ann Low, 32, was remanded without plea on a charge of dangerous driving, one of reckless driving, one of assault with a blunt instrument and one of offensive use of a telephone.

The Redwoodtown woman will reappear on January 27.

Matetu Hemopo, 18, was remanded on bail without plea on one charge of common assault, one of male assaults female, and one of injuring with intent to injure.

The Riversdale labourer will reappear on January 27.

Johnny Peter Materoa, 19, was sentenced to 70 hours of community work after admitting a charge of theft in court yesterday.

Mr Harris said the Redwoodtown man entered the premises of Gramado's restaurant on Main St in Blenheim about 1.50am on December 16.

He found a standalone chiller at the rear of the building, which he opened and took three bottles of wine from, valued at $39.

He left the address and was found by police shortly afterwards walking down the street with the bottles. He admitted the offence, saying it was a dumb thing to do and he did not know why he did it.

Judge Russell said Materoa had appeared in court six times in 2011, twice in 2012 and four times in 2013.

"It just doesn't stop with you does it . . . when are you going to grow up and stop this kind of behaviour," the judge said.

Judge Russell told Materoa he would be looking at a short term of imprisonment if he appeared in front of him again on a breach of community work.

- The Marlborough Express

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