Cannabis cases bring jail, home detention

LYN HUMPHREYS
Last updated 05:00 20/02/2013

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Four Taranaki cannabis addicts and dealers were sentenced in the High Court in New Plymouth yesterday.

Two South Taranaki people were jailed while the other two, who say they have kicked the habit, were allowed home detention.

Each had the class C restricted drug at their homes both for themselves and to sell to others.

One acknowledged selling tinnies to an undercover police officer.

The four, three men and a woman, were transferred to the higher court to be sentenced because of restrictions on sentencing options under the District Court jurisdiction.

Gerald Te Here Broughton, in his late 50s, was jailed for 20 months after he refused to change his long-term cannabis smoking habit.

Broughton admitted selling cannabis tinnies to an undercover police officer on July 26 in a sting code-named Operation Smoke. He had earlier pleaded guilty to two charges of possessing cannabis for supply and supplying cannabis.

Crown prosecutor Josie Mooney called for a prison sentence for Broughton.

Broughton was unsuitable for home detention because of his refusal to change his ways and because the offending occurred in his home, she said.

His lawyer, Rajan Rai, said Broughton had chronic health problems and found it difficult to cope with the pain.

Justice David Collins noted Broughton's long list of drug convictions stretching back to 1993. Because of his entrenched cannabis habit he was at high risk of reoffending, the judge said.

A two-year prison sentence in 1997 for similar offences did not serve to deter him, Justice Collins said.

Tania Lee Mead, 53, a horticulturalist, was sentenced to 10 months' home detention after she earlier pleaded guilty to having an extensive cannabis-growing operation at her New Plymouth home.

She admitted two counts, cultivating cannabis and possessing the plant for supply.

Mead had now shifted to the Far North and had undergone significant rehabilitation, her lawyer, Kylie Pascoe, said.

She had "gone ahead [in] leaps and bounds", and from being a prolific user to abstaining.

Ms Pascoe said Ms Mead had been under significant duress in growing the cannabis for a third party whose name Justice Collins agreed to suppress.

Hawera man Donovan Taketake Hori, 43, was sentenced after admitting possession of cannabis for supply.

Hori was now highly motivated to change his ways, his lawyer Grant Vosseler said, and had the full support of his spouse.

Justice Collins said Hori was valued as an employee and had 15 letters before the court from people speaking of his good character and work for Ngati Ruanui.

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Hori committed to remain drug free.

"It would be better for your rehabilitative prospects to remain in your job," the judge said opting for home detention as the most suitable sentence.

Hori was sentenced to nine months' home detention and ordered to continue with alcohol and drug counselling.

Billerina Davis, 51, of Hawera, was jailed for 15 months on three counts of supplying cannabis and possession of cannabis plant for supply.

Justice Collins declined home detention because of Davis' risk of reoffending and the unsuitability of her home, where she would be living alone with no support.

- Taranaki Daily News

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