The West Australian reports…
An elderly South Kalgoorlie man who stole electricity from the grid to power his cannabis growing sheds claims he was harvesting the oil from the plants to ease his chronic pain.
Brian George Alexander Ross, 67, yesterday faced Kalgoorlie District Court for sentencing after pleading guilty to fraudulent appropriation of power, cultivating cannabis and possession of cannabis with intent to sell or supply.
Sitting in a modified walking frame in the docks, a frail-looking Ross leaned forward as he strained to hear the allegations put forward by State prosecutor Gary Huggins.
Mr Huggins said police raided Ross’ home inWychitella Place at 6.57am on January 28 when they came across multiple power cords bypassing the metering box used to power a hydroponic set-up.
He said police found 47 mature cannabis plants in two cannabis sheds and three rogue cannabis plants growing in the garden.
In a modified drying room, police also found 1.72kg of dried cannabis and bags.
Mr Huggins said the total weight of the dried material and the plants was 8.5kg.
He said Ross had admitted to police he had been selling the drug in $50 bags and claimed it was, therefore, a commercial operation.
But that was vehemently denied by defence lawyer John Hawkins, who said there was absolutely “no evidence of any commerciality”.
Mr Hawkins said Ross was harvesting the cannabis oil to help him ease his chronic pain.
He said when Ross was 40 he suffered a fractured cervical vertebrae, causing numbness and weakness to his arms.
The court heard Ross was also suffering from heart trouble, hypertension and a condition causing pressure to his spinal cord.
Mr Hawkins said Ross was on 13 different medications at the time, including opioids.
He said when Ross’ daily opioid medication was slashed from 160mg to 90mg he turned to cannabis to try and ease his pain.
The court heard police found books on making cannabis oil and there was no evidence of him dealing in drugs.
Mr Hawkins said Ross would occasionally give friends bags of cannabis as payment for helping him complete tasks he could not do alone.