A MAN caught with an “elaborate” hydroponics set up and $30,000 worth of cannabis in his home has claimed he grew the drugs for personal use, a court has heard.
But Paul John Brogden was yesterday jailed for six months after a magistrate could not find that the drugs weren’t used for trafficking.
Brogden has already lodged an appeal against the prison sentence.
The Ballarat Magistrates Court heard the 50-year-old Navigators man had created a two-room hydroponics set up in a shed on his parents’ farm, one of which was covered with reflective foil, and contained items including heat lights, filters, fans and a watering system.
Police prosecutor Senior Constable Aimee Heal said police executed a search warrant at Brogden’s home on August 4 last year, where they found 5.5kg of dried cannabis, as well as another 3.5kg of cannabis mixed with other materials.
In a hidden room attached to Brogden’s bedroom, police located four mature cannabis plants and 27 cannabis seedlings.
Police estimated the drugs to have a street value of about $30,000.
Defence lawyer Mike Wardell submitted that his client could be dealt with by a fine, saying that his client was stockpiling the drugs for his own supply.
Mr Wardell admitted the “stockpile” was almost two years’ supply, and that Brogden smoked on average four grams per day.
Further, he said Brogden had been the focus of a police investigation spear headed by Taskforce Echo.
“Considering he was the subject of a major operation from Melbourne there is an absence of tick books and money,” Mr Wardell said.
Regarding the estimated value of the cannabis, Mr Wardell played down the figure saying “maybe if it went through 17 hands and was sold on the street corner (it would be worth $30,000)”.
But magistrate Michelle Hodgson took little time in determining that she was not satisfied the cannabis was not for trafficking due to its “sheer weight”.