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Cannabis crimes result in prison sentence suspended for two years

Cannabis crimes result in prison sentence suspended for two years

Friday 25 March 2022

Cannabis crimes result in prison sentence suspended for two years

Friday 25 March 2022


A man was handed a suspended prison sentence after pleading guilty to the possession and cultivation of cannabis.

Martin James Shell, 54, was sentenced in the Magistrate’s Court yesterday after Police discovered the illicit substance on his property during a search on 4 November last year.

Crown Advocate Chris Dunford described the investigation and the charges to the Court.

30.51 grams of cannabis were found in Shell’s bedroom concealed in a carboard box. Another 3.6 grams were found in his lounge. And four plants were discovered growing in his loft through a hydroponic system.

Crown Advocate Dunford claimed that a single cannabis plant could be expected to yield between 20 and 40 grams of cannabis flower. 

He said that Shell immediately admitted possession and cultivation of the drugs and directed police officers to the growing activities in his loft. 

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Pictured: The case was heard in the Magistrate’s Court. 

Advocate Paul Lockwood, who was defending Shell, said that his client had provided full admission to the crime through his early guilty plea.

He encouraged Judge Graeme McKerrell to note that his client had changed his habits and the circumstances of his life since his last offence several years ago.

He said that Shell failed to pursue a cannabis prescription through the legal routes due to the high cost of the medicine. 

“Only the quantity is what calls for imprisonment,” said Advocate Lockwood. He also questioned whether a custodial sentence was necessary. 

Judge McKerrell was cognizant of Shell’s “poor and long record of offending”.

“One cannot ignore the quantity involved… one cannot ignore the sophistication of the set-up,” said Judge McKerrell.

Shell was sentenced to three months in prison for possession and eight months for cultivation – but Judge McKerrell suspended the sentence for two years. 

He also ordered the forfeiture and destruction of the substances, the growing activities and other associated paraphernalia. 

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