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Dope growing bailiff pleads guilty

LYN HUMPHREYS
Last updated 13:27 15/05/2014

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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 in possession of a semi-automatic rifle.

Bailiff Grahame Leonard Cox, 72, of New Plymouth, was arrested on April 14, with Gary Ian Clynton Harker, 63, after police executed search warrants at his rural address.

In the New Plymouth District Court this 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 and growing at Cox's city home.

At his property on Waitaanga Rd 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 that was used to kill pests.

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 a number of ailments including a back injury and arthritis, she said.

Judge Allan Roberts accepted Cox had a blemish-free record prior to his arrest.

He 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.

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