By Mitchell Clarke
A Nar Nar Goon man has been sentenced to four years imprisonment after being found guilty of cultivating a commercial quantity of cannabis.
Stephen Kenny, 60, was sentenced in the County Court on Wednesday 29 May after police issued a search warrant on his property in Nar Nar Goon last year on 24 September.
Mr Kenny was arrested after he made admissions to having cannabis plants growing in two sheds on his old dairy farm property.
In sentencing, Judge Gabrielle Cannon noted Mr Kenny had no prior criminal history and that he made early admissions to police.
“Mr Kenny, your offending is serious and warrants a punishment which is just in all the circumstances, and your conduct must be denounced,” she said.
“The number of plants well exceeded the relevant threshold, as did the total weight of cannabis.
“In any event, the quantity of cannabis that you cultivated was significant; being 2.89 times over the weight threshold commercial quantity and the number of plants found was 2.55 times the relevant threshold.
“The crop you set up was elaborate and sophisticated and it is clear to me that although you used cannabis yourself, this was a commercial enterprise which was being conducted by you for profit.”
Judge Cannon made reference to the prosecutor who noted that cannabis was no soft drug.
“As the alerted prosecutor said, cannabis is no soft drug. It’s the most harmful drug in itself and a gateway to other illicit substances,” she said.
“It’s part of the scourge that drugs have on our community, leading to all sorts of social problems including criminal offences and mental health issues.”
Upon further investigation of the property, it was found that Mr Kenny had been stealing electricity and was found to be in possession of a firearm, without holding a relevant license.
It was noted the firearm hadn’t been used for about five years and wasn’t used for any sinister purpose, however it was of concern that such lethal items were so readily accessible within the shed.
“In sentencing you, I do so on the basis that you have admitted to cultivating a commercial crop on one day only, and you have pleaded guilty to stealing electricity from 15 February to 24 September 2018,” she said.
Judge Cannon made reference to the fact that Mr Kenny and his family were highly regarded in the community which only exacerbated his shame. She noted his first time in jail will be hard for him as his family dealt with his absence but she believed he had strong prospects for rehabilitation.
With 94 days already served, Mr Kenny was sentenced to four years in jail with a non-parole period of 18 months.