Monday, February 15, 2016

Cannabis grower avoided jail sentence because he wasn't very good at it

A cannabis grower has been spared from jail because he wasn't very good at it. The judge and prosecutor and even his lawyer all agreed that Joshua Hughes’s 40 cannabis plants were too puny to ever be worth harvesting. The 20-year-old from Stockton-On-Tees in north east England, paid £200 for the growing kit and he tended them every day. But police photographs of them at his rented flat failed to impress the Recorder of Middlesbrough, Judge Simon Bourne-Arton QC, who said: “Well, I’m not going to say that it was a commercial grow”.

Hughes’s landlord called police in on July 13 last year after he investigated a water leak at the locked flat. They found over 40 plants with a set-up for watering, ventilation and lighting, and the electricity meter had been bypassed, which engineers had to make safe. Hughes said that he was trying to save money buying the drug from dealers because he had a habit of 20 cannabis cigarettes a day. He said that he had rented the flat a year ago and he bought the cannabis growing kit from a car boot sale for £200, and he followed a YouTube video to set it up.

He said that one lot of plants died, and he tried to get some chemicals to feed the rest. Prosecuter Jenny Haigh told Teesside Crown Court that there was no evidence of any successful grow, and Hughes denied that he was the person who tampered with the electricity supply. Duncan McReddie, defending, said that it was Hughes’s first experience of the criminal justice system. He added: “He had been struggling with cannabis use for a time before he started this enterprise, and he thought it would ensure that he would have a supply so that he did not have to use drug dealers..

“But he had neither the wit, expertise or dedication to maintain the growth. It was an inept attempt to cultivate for his own use. The mitigation is the timely plea and the fact that it is not a commercial grow because it did not come to fruition.” The judge told Hughes: “This was an incompetent grow from start to finish. You may have had high expectations and high ideas, but anyone who seeks to produce cannabis will risk a sentence of imprisonment. I am suspending it because of your early guilty plea, lack of previous convictions and incompetence.” Hughes was given a six months jail sentence suspended for two years and 100 hours unpaid work after he pleaded guilty to cultivating cannabis.

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