No conviction for Calliope man despite 154 cannabis plants

Generic image of cannabis.
Generic image of cannabis. Bill North

OBLIVIOUS to what was happening as he spent some quality time in New Zealand, a police-issued search warrant revealed a Calliope man's sophisticated hydroponic set-up on his property and 154 cannabis plants.

John James Tart pleaded guilty to five charges in Gladstone Magistrates Court on Tuesday after police located a room underneath his house which contained three growing racks, two grow tents, and a large number of cannabis plants.

Police prosecutor Acting Senior Constable Balan Selvadurai told Magistrate Melanie Ho when police arrived at Tart's Calliope home on October 7, they heard an exhaust fan at the side of the property.

He said it was this which first led police to believe drugs were growing there.

Once police entered the area underneath the house, they found the illegal set-up.

Snr Const Selvadurai said in addition to the 154 plants, 49 of which were seedlings and 28 of which were older plants from a previous harvest, police located a collection of items including converter boxes, artificial lights, electrical cables, a battery operated grinder, an irrigation water system, an exhaust filtration system and an electrical system.

It was also identified that Tart had unlimited power connected to the room.

Defence lawyer Cassandra Ditchfield said Tart was a "community-minded" man who sponsored multiple community services, to which Ms Ho asked how he was "any different to any of us who support the community?"

The court heard Tart had no like-offences in the past 11 years and was a "long-term user" who had started self medicating for chronic neck pain after he was injured at work four years ago.

Tart was fined $1500 for all offences.

Topics:  calliope cannabis crime gladstonecourt gladstone magistrates court magistrate melanie ho police

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