Cannabis grower avoids jail

VALUABLE CROP: A Salisbury cannabis grower avoids a jail term.
VALUABLE CROP: A Salisbury cannabis grower avoids a jail term.

A Salisbury man who cultivated cannabis with an estimated street value of $150,000 has avoided prison.

Barry Alan Burton-Smith, 47, was sentenced in the Timaru District Court today to nine months home detention on three charges of cultivation, possession for supply and possession of cannabis.

Burton-Smith volunteered the details of his crime to police after they apprehended him at a Timaru address where he said he was purchasing two tinnys - the street name for 1 gram of cannabis head wrapped in foil.

Police took his cell phone as evidence and on it found a photo of "a large growing operation". Burton-Smith then took police to the place he was growing the crop, which included 86 small seedlings that had grown to 33cm, 77 mature plants, and equipment.

Burton-Smith told police he was not making a profit from the crop. Instead, he supplied half the yield to the tinny house operator and kept half for his own use.

However, Judge Joanna Maze said in effect, there was a profit being made.

"Here there was a profit returned several fold and you knew full well that half of the crop you were handing over was intended for sale and your efforts would maximise the gains of the operator of the tinny house."

Judge Maze took into consideration that Burton-Smith had no previous convictions and was determined to stop using cannabis.

She ordered the destruction of all the cultivating equipment.

The Timaru Herald