Mobilong man sentenced for ‘haphazard’ cannabis-growing operation
The 62-year-old man has been spared prison after being sentenced over a police raid on his property late last year.
A Mobilong man has been spared prison over a “haphazard” cannabis-growing operation at his rural property.
Sixty-two-year-old Wayne Walter Burat will have to perform 180 hours of community service after being sentenced in Adelaide’s District Court last Thursday.
He had been charged with cultivating, possessing and trafficking cannabis after police found 76 cannabis plants at his property during a raid last October.
However, Judge Ian Press suspended a prison sentence because Burat had been only partially motivated by profit, and had not run a sophisticated or organised operation.
“Photographs of the property do not suggest excessive wealth on your part, or that luxury items had been purchased by you,” the judge said.
“Photographs of the cannabis plants show a relatively haphazard approach to the cultivation – the plants are scattered around the property in various locations.
“Many of the plants were grown from seed, and … about half would have been male plants and would not have produced any saleable cannabis.”
Burat had begun using cannabis to alleviate back pain and arthritis about 40 years ago, the court heard.
Since being arrested he had sought a prescription for cannabis oil, which became a legal medicine in 2016, and had sworn off other forms of the drug.
He had also pleaded guilty to the offences early on, saving the justice system some trouble, and provided the court with positive character references.
Judge Press ordered Burat to abide by a good behaviour bond for two years, and to forfeit more than $48,000.
Break the bond and he would be liable to spend up to two years and five months in prison, the judge warned.
The cannabis trade has been a target for Murray Mallee police since the establishment of a new tactical unit, based in Murray Bridge, late last year.
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