Two men have been committed to stand trial on charges relating to an alleged grow house in Bacchus Marsh.
Dung Tran, 36, and Hoan Nguyen, 37, faced the Ballarat Magistrates' Court on Wednesday on five charges.
They are charged with cultivating and trafficking a commercial quantity of cannabis, possessing cannabis, dealing with cash suspected to be the proceeds of crime and electricity theft.
Tran, from St Albans, and Nguyen, from Deer Park, were arrested by police on September 14, 2020 after leaving the alleged Bacchus Marsh grow house in their car.
Tran is on Supreme Court bail and appeared at court in person, while Nguyen appeared via video link from custody.
The possession of cash in association with some 80kg of cannabis, it is a reasonable basis to make out the cash was proceeds of crime.Magistrate Ron Saines
A Vietnamese interpreter translated the committal hearing proceedings for the two accuseds.
Four police witnesses gave evidence during the two-hour committal hearing, including one police officer who lived in the area and held suspicions about the house.
The court heard Tran and Nguyen's fingerprints were found in the Bacchus Marsh property where cannabis plants were being cultivated and they were seen in a car leaving the house.
Police informant Senior Constable Sarah Gleeson said checks with the Residential Tenancies Tribunal showed no rental bond was registered for the property.
A search warrant was executed at the Bacchus Marsh house and police found a large amount of cannabis growing in tubs.
She said Tran and Nguyen were found with a 'significant' amount of harvested cannabis in their car on September 14, 2020.
Nguyen's defence barrister Remy van de Wiel QC submitted there was no evidence his client 'ever cultivated or harvested these plants' or set up the electricity bypass at the property.
He said there was no evidence Nguyen prepared the cannabis for the purpose of trafficking or the $895 he had on him was the proceeds of crime.
"There is evidence he drives a car in the vicinity of the property and cannabis material is located," he said.
Mr van de Wiel said there was also no evidence Nguyen was aware of the quantity of the cannabis in the car as he was driving and the cannabis was in the back with Tran.
Tran's defence barrister Phillip Bloeman made similar submissions, saying there was no evidence of involvement in cultivation and harvesting.
"The evidence is a car goes into a driveway and a car leaves a few hours later," he said.
"It doesn't identify any involvement in cultivation."
Magistrate Ron Saines said he was against both sets of defence submissions and found there was evidence of a sufficient weight for the jury to draw inferences from the facts.
"There is adequate evidence to establish legal possession of a very large quantity of cannabis," he said.
"The quantity alone supports the inference of possession for the purpose of sale."
Mr Saines also referred to the two accused's proximity to the location it was likely cultivated.
"The possession of cash in association with some 80kg of cannabis, it is a reasonable basis to make out the cash was proceeds of crime."
Nguyen and Tran entered pleas of not guilty to the five charges. They will appear in the County Court for a directions hearing in May.
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