Cannabis Production Conditional Discharge
Recently, Nottingham crime solicitor and partner Martin Hadley proved the truth of the maxim ‘if you don’t ask, you don’t get’ when he represented a client charged with cannabis production before Nottingham Magistrates’ Court.
The client had been arrested at his home address after the police had been called to an alleged incident of domestic violence. Although that was not pursued, the police who attended discovered the client and 20 cannabis plants.
These were being grown in circumstances which could only be described as professional and commercial including an irrigation system, additional Carbon Dioxide and extraction fans.
The evidence suggesting that Martin’s client was involved in the commercial production of cannabis was apparently strong. The matter may well have been sent to the Crown Court to be dealt with, and a court would be thinking of a sentence, after unsuccessful trial, of 12 months imprisonment. The client would also be at risk of confiscation proceedings.
The client’s instructions were that he had not been staying at his home address, but had instead been at his partner’s house. He had only become aware of the cannabis plants on the day the police were called. He accepted that he had spoken to the person growing the plants and watched him water them, and had not asked him to move them or contacted the police.
The prosecution was persuaded to substitute an allegation of permitting premises to be used for the growing of cannabis. Martin’s client pleaded guilty. He was then sentenced on the basis that he had only been involved in the offence for a matter of hours.
The Magistrates chose to impose a conditional discharge. This is an unusual disposal for what was apparently a serious allegation. The court decided that given the character of the offender and the nature of the crime, punishment would not be appropriate.
Martin’s client was released and the offence registered on their criminal record. No further action will be taken unless they commit a further offence within the period of the discharge.
This case illustrates the value of instructing an experienced criminal practitioner to represent you if charged with a criminal offence. Martin’s years of experience mean that he has the confidence of both the prosecutor and the court, so when he makes a constructive suggestion to progress a case people are likely to listen.