Cannabis farmer is spared prison term

Cannabis plants
Cannabis plants

A man who grew cannabis for medicinal reasons has narrowly escaped going to jail.

Stephen Jones maintained that he grew the illegal crop to use for pain relief after suffering back injuries in two road traffic accidents.

But his punishment will include physical work after the judged ruled him fit enough despite his condition.

Sentencing him, the Recorder of Liverpool, Judge Clement Goldstone, QC, pointed out that Jones had never consulted his GP about his back pain.

But he said that he had to accept that the Crown Prosecution Service had taken the decision to accept his plea that he had grown £3,000 worth of the drug for his own medicinal reasons.

“I have no wish to go behind that charging decision and basis of plea.”

He sentenced 51-year-old Jones to four months’ imprisonment but suspended the term for two years while ordering him to carry out 15 days’ rehabilitation activities.

Judge Goldstone also ordered him to complete 120 hours of unpaid work “for which, despite your back problems, I and the probation officer are quite satisfied your are fit.”

Liverpool Crown Court heard that police officers raided his home on March 28 this year, after smelling cannabis, and found that he had been cultivating the banned drug in two tents in a bedroom.

There were no plants growing, but in 10 bin bags officers found 150 plants which had been harvested.

They had been grown in a “relatively sophisticated” system involving lighting, fans and filters over at least three months, said Dan Travers, prosecuting.

The electricity meter had also been bypassed in the terraced house in order to power the enterprise which, the court was told, posed a “potential risk to the occupants and neighbours.”

Jones of Fawcett, Skelmersdale, pleaded guilty to cultivating cannabis, possessing the drug and to abstracting electricity illegally.

Neil Gunn, defending, said that Jones, who had had no convictions for the last 15 years, grew the plants for his own use because of the back pain he had suffered after two road accidents.

“He made the foolhardy decision to research how to grow cannabis and particularly researched a particular strain which is known for high quantities of cannabinols.”

Mr Gunn said that this involved a high level of medicinal ingredients.