68-year-old pleads guilty to marijuana supply, cultivation
A 68-YEAR-OLD Lower Clarence man found in possession of marijuana with a street value of more than $160,000 has faced court.
Geoffrey Hills appeared in Maclean Local Court on Friday for sentence after pleading guilty to supplying between an indictable and commercial quantity of marijuana for financial gain, cultivation of a prohibited plant between a small and an indictable quantity and dealing with the proceeds of crime.
The court heard that officers from Coffs/Clarence Police District executed a search warrant on Hills' Lower Clarence address on July 7 this year, where 44 marijuana plants were found, including 16 large plants and around 4.1kg of marijuana leaf, all with an estimated street value of $160,000. Police also found $9400 in cash, which Hills admitted was from the sale of the drug.
Hills' solicitor Greg Coombes submitted that while court documents describe the set up as a hydroponic operation, it lacked the sophisticated watering systems required for such a description.
Magistrate Kathy Crittenden said the amount of marijuana involved and the nature of the operation indicated a significant involvement in the supply of a prohibited drug.
"Whatever your personal view of the drug is, it is still illegal and supplying a prohibited drug is a very serious offence," Ms Crittenden said.
The magistrate said Hills made candid admissions to police on the day of the search that he lived on a pension and found it difficult to survive, and that supplying marijuana for financial gain was a significant aggravating factor of the offences.
Hills was sentenced to a nine-month intensive corrections order, which included 100 hours community service. He was also placed on a two-year community corrections order.