Drug charge at park

Po­lice lo­cated cannabis and uten­sils in car­a­van

Central and North Burnett Times - - WELCOME - Tobi Lof­tus Tobi.Lof­tus@cnbtimes.com.au

THE for­mer man­ager of a Mun­dub­bera car­a­van park pleaded guilty to grow­ing cannabis in the Gayn­dah Mag­is­trates Court on July 14.

Craig McGrath also pleaded guilty to pos­ses­sion of 33.6 grams of cannabis and pos­ses­sion of uten­sils.

Po­lice lo­cated the cannabis and uten­sils on June 19 af­ter search­ing McGrath’s car­a­van at the Big Man­darin Car­a­van Park in Mun­dub­bera, where he was man­ager at the time.

Po­lice Pros­e­cu­tor Sergeant Pepe Gangemi told the court McGrath grew the cannabis 18 months ago.

“If it wasn’t for his ad­mis­sion (to grow­ing the cannabis) he wouldn’t be be­fore the court,” Sgt Gangemi said.

“Save for his ad­mis­sions that charge would not ex­ist.”

De­fence lawyer John Wil­lett told the court McGrath grew the cannabis for him­self to help with PTSD he re­ceived af­ter serv­ing the Navy in Iraq, Cam­bo­dia, Afghanistan and Ti­mor Leste.

“He grew the cannabis to help him­self sleep,” Mr Wil­lett said. “He lost his job over this.” McGrath told the court he could po­ten­tially lose in­sur­ance for a prop­erty he owns in Townsville if he was con­victed.

“Ba­si­cally my house is in a cy­clone area... only two com­pa­nies will in­sure that area,” McGrath said.

“If there is a con­vic­tion recorded I won’t be able to get in­sur­ance.

“I’m try­ing to pro­vide for my daugh­ter and I’ve lost my job, if this con­vic­tion is recorded it will place me in se­vere dis­tress.”

Mr Wil­lett said a con­vic­tion could af­fect McGrath’s chances of fu­ture em­ploy­ment.

Mag­is­trate An­drew Hackett said he could not see things McGrath’s way.

“As an em­ployer I’d be very con­cerned about as­sault and griev­ous bod­ily harm con­vic­tions,” Mr Hackett said.

“I’m not sat­is­fied. I’m afraid that there is a proper ba­sis for not record­ing a con­vic­tion.

“With­out your ad­mis­sion there wouldn’t be a pro­duc­tion charge... and you did suf­fer from your prior in­volve­ment with the navy as a clear­ance diver.

“I’m not sat­is­fied that any­thing placed be­fore me places an im­pact on your so­cial or eco­nomic well­be­ing, it’s not enough for me not to make a con­vic­tion.”

McGrath was fined $400.

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