A father and son both appeared in the New Plymouth District Court yesterday after they admitted growing cannabis at their homes.
Both were given a final warning and told next time they appeared in court for possession of the class C controlled drug, they would be jailed.
The lawyer for the two men, Paul Keegan, successfully argued that James Thomas Sullivan, 67, had severe health problems and used the cannabis to relieve his pain and discomfort.
"He stands apart from the others that appear in court today," Mr Keegan said.
Two plants were found growing in his garage at his home.
Judge Allan Roberts accepted that Sullivan, for whom he had extensive medical reports, was in a different category from the large number of people before the court yesterday on cannabis-related offending.
"Someone has given you up," the judge told Sullivan snr.
Sullivan was convicted, discharged and given a warning.
"Next time you will go to jail - whatever stage your medical condition may be."
Police raided the home of his son, Tony James Sullivan, in his 40s, at 11.15am on December 11 armed with a search warrant.
While Sullivan jnr was not home, in his shed police found a large growing room and a total of 35 plants in various stages of growth. Sullivan went to the police station and took full responsibility. He told police he did not sell the drug but smoked about an ounce a week - less now that he was working - and shared it with his friends.
Mr Keegan said Sullivan exaggerated how much he smoked.
He now had his life on track and had to undergo drug tests at his workplace.
The judge sentenced Sullivan jnr to 225 hours of community work and also stamped his file with a final warning.
Richard Duane Johns, in his 40s, admitted cultivating cannabis after police found hundreds of plants at his home on November 27.
Johns was remanded to March 11 for a pre-sentence report focusing on upper tier sentences and was told his liberty was on the line.
Okato sharemilker Rodney Neil Scown, 44, admitted cultivating and possessing cannabis.
Scown had been a daily user, and was embarrassed and remorseful, his lawyer said. He was shocked he had been informed on and to have police arrive at his home, his lawyer said.
Judge Roberts accepted Scown was a first offender and gave him a final warning. Scown received 175 hours of community work.
- Taranaki Daily News
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