A man found in possession of almost 80 cannabis plants and more than $125,000 in cash could spend up to four years in prison.
Max Peter Symons was sentenced in the County Court on Friday to a minimum term of two years and eight months' imprisonment after pleading guilty to cultivating a commercial quantity of a narcotic plant and dealing with property suspected of being the proceeds of crime.
Police found 78 cannabis, more than three kilograms of dried cannabis, and $125,850 in cash at the 31-year-old's Cochranes Creek home last December.
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They made the discovery after attending the property on a different matter and noticing the strong smell of cannabis wafting from a shed.
"The facts in this case are very serious," Judge Rachelle Lewitan said on Friday.
She said the amount of cannabis found - over 82.6 kilograms in total - was more than three times the quantity defined as commercial.
While Symons' defence counsel had submitted Symons was not trafficking cannabis, nor connected to a syndicate, Judge Lewitan said the cannabis found was more than he could have used and his moral culpability was high.
But there were factors that mitigated Symons' sentence, including his guilty plea.
Judge Lewitan said she took Symons' background - which featured a childhood with "little positivity" in relation to his family, and drug use at a young age - into account.
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She noted a psychologist reported that Symons' childhood would have left him vulnerable to drug use and he found cannabis use helped his emotional state.
Judge Lewitan said Symons' time in custody was his first period of abstinence since the age of 13.
While in custody, she said, Symons had been working and planned to do an engineering course, although the COVID-19 pandemic put an end to that.
It was submitted that Symons was determined to re-enter the workforce and get his life back on track upon his release.
But Judge Lewitan said his prospects of rehabilitation remained guarded and would depend on his ability to remain drug-free.
Defence counsel Julien Lowy submitted Symons would benefit from a community corrections order upon his release from prison.
An offender can be sentenced to a maximum of 12 months' imprisonment in combination with a corrections order.
But Judge Lewitan said such a sentence would not give sufficient weight to denunciation of Symons' crimes, just punishment, and deterring others from committing similar offences.
Symons had already served 361 days of his four-year sentence.
But for his guilty plea, he could have faced up to six years and nine months in prison.
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