Detention term for man on cannabis, firearms charges

A Luggate man has been sentenced to community detention for growing cannabis.

Whiti Leon Marshall (47) admitted charges of cultivating cannabis, supply of cannabis and possession of a firearm while not holding a firearms licence when he appeared before Judge John Strettell in the Queenstown District Court yesterday.

Marshall had admitted the drugs charges, but denied the firearms charge.

However, the parties agreed to a lesser firearms charge shortly after the judge-alone trial began. Marshall pleaded guilty, and the hearing proceeded to sentencing.

Judge Strettell said police searched the defendant’s home on March 5 last year, finding eight fully-grown plants in an indoor growing operation, a .30-30 Winchester rifle and ammunition.

His lawyer, Liam Collins, said Marshall had no criminal record and had ‘‘stupidly’’ got involved in cannabis to earn extra money.

The rifle had been left at the property by a relative some years earlier, stored in a wardrobe and forgotten about.

Since his arrest, and as a result of an ongoing illness that required him to spend nine months in hospital, the defendant had gained insight into the harm his offending had caused to his family.

Judge Strettell convicted Marshall and sentenced him to three months’ community detention, with a curfew, and nine months’ supervision with special conditions.

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