Cannabis cultivator convicted

A Murrumbateman man caught growing 53 cannabis plants at his home had “cried a bucketful of tears since being arrested”, Yass Local Court heard on January 8.

Stephen Watson, 47, pleaded guilty to charges of cultivating cannabis, organising a drug premises (first offence), possessing a prohibited drug and possessing a bong used to administer the drug.

The court heard plain-clothes police from the Goulburn Drug Unit had attended the home on Dicks Creek Road on November 21 last year in relation to intelligence received.

Watson showed police his detached double garage where an indoor hyproponic cannabis cultivating system was set up.

A container held 40 plants in plastic pots, with 600 watt lights suspended over the container, two fans and nine transformers connected to a timer.

The plants were on average 120 centimetres to 165 centimetres tall in good condition and displaying large heads.

A further five plants were growing in a bedroom of the home under lights, averaging around 150cm tall in good condition.

Watson told police at the time he was a heavy cannabis user, consuming up to half an ounce each day, and that he was growing the plants for his own use.

A further eight plants were found outside the home, about 80cm tall and in poor condition.

Police told the court the lounge room of the home held a purpose-built wooden cabinet with 81 small cannabis cuttings growing on a heat bed under a fluorescent light.

On the dining table three branches were hanging up drying out.

Police found about 50g of cannabis leaf throughout the home too.

Watson said in a letter to the court that he had not smoked cannabis since his arrest.

“I’ve cried a bucketful of tears since being arrested due to my shame of my habit and being in court over it.”

Magistrate Doug Dick fined Watson a total of $4000, placed him on a 12-month good behaviour bond with probation supervision, and ordered the drugs be destroyed.

(Mother crashed into power pole)

A pregnant mum of three had crashed her car into a power pole while reaching for a dummy, Yass Local Court heard on January 8.

Chantalle Maree Fidler, 36, of Yass, pleaded guilty of being an unlicensed driver, negligent driving, and not giving particulars to the owner of damaged property.

Police told the court Fidler had been driving with her three young children at 12.45am on October 19 on Townsend Place, Yass, when she lent down to pick up a dummy for one of her children, and took her eyes off the road.

The vehicle travelled to the incorrect side of the road and collided with a power pole, sustaining major front-end damage.

Fidler had left the scene with her children and not reported the collision to police or Essential Energy advising them of the minor damage to the pole.

The vehicle had pushed the pole out of alignment.

Police spoke with Fidler that night. She initially denied any knowledge of the incident but later apologised and admitted the offences under caution.

She told police she had lied because she didn’t want to get into trouble as she was planning to apply for a learner’s permit soon.

She has never held a licence.

She did not realise she was required to report the collision to Essential Energy.

Magistrate Doug Dick fined her $900.

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