Bailiff fined on cannabis charges

Last updated 05:00 16/05/2014

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A long-serving New Plymouth bailiff has been fined after police caught him growing thousands of dollars worth of cannabis and illegally possessing a semi-automatic rifle.

Bailiff Grahame Leonard Cox, 72, was arrested on April 14, with Gary Ian Clynton Harker, 63, after police searched his rural address.

In the New Plymouth District Court yesterday morning, Cox pleaded guilty to cultivating and possessing cannabis and illegally possessing the .22 semi-automatic rifle.

The court heard police found a small amount of cannabis - along with magazines relating to cannabis use - growing at Cox's city home.

At his Waitaanga Rd property in the Ruapehu District, where Cox spent his weekends, police discovered newly harvested cannabis in his house, plants growing in the nearby bush and the rifle. The cannabis was estimated to have a street value of about $25,000.

Cox's lawyer Turitea Bolstad said the implications for her client were "absolutely huge".

At the age of 72 he had built a reputation for himself, and the conviction was something he would have to live with, Bolstad said.

He had no excuse apart from using the cannabis for ailments including a back injury and arthritis, she said.

Judge Allan Roberts convicted and sentenced Cox to a fine totalling $1100 plus court costs.

Harker, who admitted possessing and cultivating a smaller number of plants was convicted at an earlier court appearance and fined $350 plus court costs. Fairfax NZ

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- The Press

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