'Stupid': Plant operator caught growing illegal crops
A PLANT operator was fined a hefty sum in court after he was found to be growing his own marijuana crops for self-medication.
David Robert McEwan pleaded guilty in Gladstone Magistrates Court on Monday to one count each of possess utensils or pipes and producing dangerous drugs.
Police executed a search warrant at McEwan's Gladstone residence on May 20 about 7.20am.
Queensland Police Service prosecutor Kelvin Boyd said officers found four marijuana plants growing in a garden bed, each about 6cm tall.
Police also found a glass pipe hidden in a glove in a shed.
McEwan told police the plants were his own but the pipe was a friend's.
McEwan would not tell police who the pipe belonged too.
Mr Boyd told the court McEwan told police he had planted the marijuana one week prior.
Defence lawyer Bianca Hight said her client was 39-years-old and worked at the mines as a plant operator.
Ms Hight said her client had problems with his back and used marijuana medicinally.
She also asked Magistrate Dennis Kinsella if he would consider not recording a conviction.
Ms Hight said if a conviction was recorded it could hurt McEwan's future job prospects in Western Australia.
Mr Kinsella said McEwan had a criminal history but nothing of like nature.
"But these offence did occur while you are on a community service order...of which you owe 68 of 100 hours.
"There are good reasons (to record a conviction) for someone of your age and who has been here on a fourth occasion now.
Mr Kinsella said if he was to record a conviction it would hurt McEwan's "social and economic well-being" and decided against it
"Don't underestimate how lucky you have been," Mr Kinsella said.
"Don't expect the same leniency from the court if - and I will put it simple - you are stupid enough to come back to court."
McEwan was fined $900. A conviction was not recorded.