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Terminally ill man who grew cannabis for pain relief is sentenced in court

Terminally ill man who grew cannabis for pain relief is sentenced in court


Last updated 18:11, January 10 2017


Police found seven mature cannabis plants inside the terminally ill man's garage.

Two men who grew cannabis for their own "medicinal" use have been sentenced in the Invercargill District Court.

Daniel Joseph Butler, 60, and Paul James Joseph Dempster, 51, both appeared before Judge Bernadette Farnan in court on Tuesday.

Their cases were unrelated, but both said they grew and smoked cannabis for their own medicinal use.

Dempster's lawyer, Scott Williamson, told the court Dempster was terminally ill, and that both his mother and partner had recently died.

Judge Farnan said police found a purpose-built room at the back of Dempster's garage, which contained seven mature cannabis plants.

She accepted that Dempster had a chronic illness, and said he had told police cannabis helped him with his pain relief.

"He grew [cannabis] because it reduced the cost of buying it," Farnan said.

She sentenced Dempster to nine months' supervision.

Meanwhile, the court was told police found Butler was growing eight juvenile and three mature cannabis plants at his home.

Williamson also represented Butler, and told the court Butler had chronic back pain, and used cannabis so that he could be less reliant on his doctor.

"It's not an addiction ... it's a choice," Williamson said.

Judge Farnan sentenced Butler to 100 hours' community work.

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