Cannabis. Bill North

Jail for Casino man over sophisticated cannabis set-up

CASINO man David Justin likes to grow cannabis to self-medicate, and a judge is not convinced another stint in jail will persuade him to stop.

When police conducted a search of his Casino home last October they discovered a sophisticated hydroponic set up, including seven lights, portable fans, growing agents, a heating system, an irrigation system, and power transformers.

Police counted 50 plants in various stages of maturity across three different rooms.

Justin had also tampered with the mains electricity supply to hide his excessive power consumption.

But despite the abundance of cannabis, he insisted to police they were his and his partner's personal use alone.

The 51-year-old ultimately pleaded guilty to cultivating a commercial quantity of cannabis, and misusing electricity.

At Justin's sentencing hearing in Lismore District Court on October 4, Judge Deborah Sweeney said he used the cannabis "for health reasons and to provide some for his partner for her health reasons".

The court heard Justin suffered from an acquired brain injury, chronic migraines, neck pain, and anxiety and "cannot tolerate side effects from anti-depressive drugs".

Judge Sweeney said she accepted this, and there was no evidence in the home, of any scales, portion bags or dried cannabis.

Nevertheless, she said Justin's "continual defiance of the law against cultivating cannabis" aggravated his crime.

The court heard he was already on parole for a similar offence when he was arrested last year, and had been sentenced to three years' jail for offences in 2011 and 2012.

Judge Sweeney said Justin was a "recidivist".

"I'm not confident Mr Justin will not continue to offend in this way (as) he demonstrates no intention to rehabilittae himself," she said.

This was partly due to effects of his aquired brain injury, which he medicated using cannabis, but also because he did not "fully appraise" the consequences of his behaviour.

He reveived a two-year jail sentence with a non-parole period of 12 months. Due to time served he will be released on parole on November 14.