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Jail For Man Who Grew Cannabis For Sale To Pay Off Debts

Contributor:
Fuseworks Media
Fuseworks Media

Tauranga, Jan 19 NZPA - Finance company debts drove a man to grow cannabis for sale, Tauranga District Court was told today.

But Charles Phillips, 38, was busted by police before he actually made any money from his crop.

"He was caught in the very early part of the process," his lawyer Ned Burke told Judge Peter Rollo when Phillips appeared for sentence on one charge each of possessing cannabis for supply and cultivating it.

"He entered into it purely to pay his debts. He felt he had no other option," said Mr Burke.

"He didn't actually get to sell any cannabis."

Imposing a 12-month prison sentence, Judge Rollo said the operation was quite sophisticated.

Last October police found 90 cannabis plants of various sizes growing at the defendant's address.

Twenty-three of them were in the garage with lights, fertiliser and other aids.

There was also more than 2000 grammes of cannabis material drying at the property.

The judge said Phillips had run up extensive debts to finance companies over cars.

He had left school at 13 and pursued a variety of jobs, although his education was limited.

The defendant had commented to the writer of his pre-sentence report that he was "glad it is over so he didn't need to grow any more," said Judge Rollo.

There had been "a significant gap" since previous cannabis-related offending in the 1990s.

The judge remitted $5525 worth of outstanding fines in full as part of the jail time.

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