Dad turned to cannabis to ‘self-med­i­cate’

Western Mail - - NEWS - Liz Day Re­porter­

AFATHER-OF-TWO suf­fer­ing from chronic pain in his back and hip started “self-med­i­cat­ing” with cannabis – and ended up grow­ing £23,000-worth of drugs.

David Roche, 43, from Cardiff, was caught with har­vested cannabis in his home along with a num­ber of plants with a po­ten­tial yield es­ti­mated to be worth more than £23,000.

Speak­ing at Cardiff Crown Court, pros­e­cu­tor Gareth James said: “This was clearly not the first crop the de­fen­dant was grow­ing.”

The court heard po­lice searched his home in Durleigh Close in Llan­rum­ney on July 25.

Of­fi­cers found 11 cannabis plants cul­ti­vated from seed which were each about 14cm tall and in the early stages of growth.

Pros­e­cu­tors said it was pos­si­ble to grow four crops per year and there was ev­i­dence a pre­vi­ous crop had al­ready been har­vested.

A foren­sic sci­en­tist es­ti­mated there was a po­ten­tial yield of 1.87kg with a po­ten­tial street value of £23,400.

The de­fen­dant’s phone was seized and found to contain mes­sages re­lat­ing to sup­ply.

Pros­e­cu­tors said Roche did not an­swer the door when po­lice ar­rived and they had to force en­try.

They found CCTV set up at his prop­erty, which showed the de­fen­dant hid­ing some­thing be­hind his gar­den shed when they ar­rived.

The ob­ject was an ex­ter­nal hard drive found to contain a “large num­ber” of porno­graphic images.

Mr James said there were 2,731 still images and 989 films of bes­tial­ity.

The court heard he had six pre­vi­ous con­vic­tions but none rel­e­vant to the new of­fences.

Roche ad­mit­ted pro­duc­ing the Class B drug cannabis, pos­ses­sion with in­tent to sup­ply, and pos­sess­ing ex­treme pornog­ra­phy.

Ruth Smith, de­fend­ing, said her client suf­fered from chronic back and hip pain as well as de­pres­sion and anx­i­ety. She told the court: “He started us­ing cannabis to self-med­i­cate for the pain.”

The de­fence bar­ris­ter said his pre­scribed painkillers left him con­tin­u­ing to suffer from “ex­cru­ci­at­ing pain”.

She said he tried cannabis, which led to him grow­ing it him­self and then sell­ing to friends.

Ms Smith ar­gued it was a rel­a­tively smallscale en­ter­prise and Roche was only deal­ing to peo­ple he knew.

She added: “He has strug­gled in life since los­ing the abil­ity to work and earn his own liv­ing.”

Re­fer­ring to the ex­treme pornog­ra­phy, she said: “He has re­solved never to ac­cess such ma­te­rial in the fu­ture.”

Judge Tracey Lloyd-Clarke jailed the de­fen­dant for 24 months and there will be a hear­ing un­der the Pro­ceeds of Crime Act on March 15.

> David Roche, 43

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