TWO men involved in the cultivation of cannabis near Chiltern last year have good prospects of rehabilitation, a County Court judge said when sentencing them in Wodonga yesterday.
Judge Marilyn Harbison said that both Shane Gilbert Emmins, 47, and his half-brother Kevin William Nightingale, 52, had previous drug offences.
“I find on balance that neither of you will reoffend,” she said.
Judge Harbison said the men lived on adjoining properties on Mason’s Gap Road and police originally thought it was a single drug enterprise.
But there was insufficient evidence to prove it and that was conceded by Crown prosecutor Andrew Moore.
Judge Harbison said the cultivation was unsophisticated and there were no signs of enrichment.
She said guilty pleas by Nightingale, Emmins and his partner, Sally Ann Gibson, were an indication of their remorse.
A message must be sent to the community about drug cultivation.
But it was her belief suspended jail sentences were an appropriate penalty for Nightingale and Emmins with a community corrections order for Gibson, who has no previous convictions.
They were each fined $250 for using cannabis and Nightingale was given a two-year suspended sentence which is effective for three years.
Emmins received a 12-month suspended sentence which likewise has a three-year duration.
Gibson has a corrections order for three years and must complete 300 hours of community work.
Judge Harbison said without guilty pleas they would have each received immediate jail terms of varying lengths.
The court was told last week that police on April 6 last year seized almost 25 kilograms of cannabis at Nightingale’s property.
They found 17.4 kilograms on the nine-hectare property where Emmins and Gibson lived.
All pleaded guilty to a charge of cultivating cannabis, but sought to persuade Judge Harbison that the large amounts were for personal use with no intention of trafficking.
Judge Harbison rejected their claims the large caches were purely for themselves.
“The legislation is clearly designed to throw the onus on the offender,” she said.