Man grew 30 marijuana plants to make oil: court

A SOUTHERN Downs man who was found with 30 marijuana plants on his farm has escaped spending time behind bars after a judge found the plants were not being grown for a commercial purpose.

Former Warwick TAFE voluntary tutor Paul James Wright Senden, 45, pleaded guilty to producing marijuana but he disagreed with some of the facts the prosecution had outlined against him.

The prosecution alleged the plants were for a commercial purpose but Senden, a former garlic farmer, said he grew them so he could make marijuana oil for his personal use.

During his final sentencing hearing at Brisbane District Court on Friday, the court heard he suffered chronic knee pain along with other conditions.

Senden was caught with the 30 plants when police searched his Applethorpe property last year.

He had the plants growing in three plots. Two of the plots had marijuana plants that were more than two metres high. The third plot contained plants that were slightly shorter - about 1.8m tall.

The plants weighed a total 116kg, without the roots.

If dried, the amount of marijuana that could be smoked was about a total 4.64kg; worth between $15,000 and $20,000.

Judge David Andrews found in Senden's favour; that he was not growing the plants to sell them.

Judge Andrews also said a drying shed was found on Senden's property that was "suspiciously appropriate" for drying marijuana. But he said Senden used this when he was a garlic farmer, to dry his crop.

The court heard Senden had used marijuana irregularly for about 16 years.

He had worked in Stanthorpe and for six months in 2016 he was a volunteer tutor at Warwick TAFE.

After the offences he found it difficult to get work and moved to Brisbane. The court heard he now worked at Wacol.

Judge Andrews sentenced Senden to a year's jail, wholly suspended for two years. This means Senden will not have to spend time behind bars unless he commits another offence and will have the sentence hanging over his head for two years. - ARM NEWSDESK


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