Lismore Court House.
Lismore Court House.

Father and son grew 112 cannabis plants at home

THE concern of COVID-19 has left a judge to ponder the sentencing of a Woodburn father and son who pleaded guilty to cultivating 112 cannabis plants.

Norman William Brine, 69, and his son Kurt Brine both pleaded guilty to cultivating a prohibited plant and possessing 1.53kg of cannabis, while Norman also pleaded guilty to supplying a prohibited drug.

The pair were arrested in July and have since been on conditional bail.

They were both set to be sentenced on Thursday in the Lismore District Court but after Norman’s solicitor, Rachael Thomas, told the court her client had recently been tested for COVID-19 and had concerns about entering the prison system with his ongoing health conditions.

While, Norman’s medical results came back negative and he “had just a cold”, Judge Jeffrey McLennan stated he did find himself cautious as to what the best form of punishment would be for the pair, especially Norman.

“I’m prepared to accept he’s got good prospects of rehabilitation,” Judge McLennan said.

“Your client isn’t a threat to the community.

“It’s always difficult when you’re forced to send to jail someone who is a harmless gentleman, I’m not being patronising.

“I really haven’t decided what I’m going to do with you, there’s reason why you should go to jail and reasons why you shouldn’t, I’ll have to think about it.”

Norman told the court he had since his arrest stopped using cannabis, which he had used for medicinal and recreational purposes for more than 20 years.

“I wanted to change my life, after this whole incident happened, I wanted to look at my life,” he said.

“Also, for my son’s life, I think I was a bad influence on him by using drugs and maybe that’s why he started.

“I needed a change in life.”

The sentencing for both men will resume on Monday in the Lismore District Court.