Jury finds man guilty of tending to Wendouree growhouse

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File image.

A Ballarat jury has found a man guilty of tending to a Wendouree grow house where 150 kilograms of marijuana was found.

Truong Nguyen was found guilty of cultivating a narcotic plant in a commercial quantity, but was acquitted of negligently dealing with the proceeds of crime. He pleaded not guilty to the charges.

The jury of six women and six men delivered their verdict at the County Court at Ballarat after midday on Thursday.

The court was told during the three-day trial Nguyen was found in the Wendouree house on July 18, 2016, cowering in a bathroom after Ballarat Divisional Response Unit police raided the property. 

Police placed the house under surveillance on the morning of the raid.

The jury was told the house’s windows had been covered and every room was used to grow marijuana, while a homemade electrical bypass system had been set up.

Police alleged more than 150 kilograms of cannabis was removed from the property with about 200 mature plants and 60 juvenile plants making up the haul.

Defence barrister Matthew Page said there was no evidence linking his client to cultivating the plants.

He said there was no evidence of Nguyen’s DNA on equipment inside the house, no evidence of his property inside the house and no evidence he had been at the property previously.

“Once again the highest the evidence gets is that he is there and at some point he is there he comes into contact with the toothbrush,” Mr Page said. 

Crown prosecutor David O’Doherty told the jury Nguyen knew what was going on when a friend asked him to drive him to Ballarat.

He said Nguyen told police he was not told why his friend asked him to drive to Ballarat and he did not know where he was going.

“In my submission to you, that’s fanciful,” Mr O’Doherty said. “We say he knew what was going on.”

Nguyen was remanded in custody until November 15 for a plea hearing. The trial was held before Judge Howard Mason.