Cannabis charges

By David Kavanagh | posted on June 8, 2019

THREE people who pleaded guilty to various cannabis related offences at Albany Magistrates Court last week cited medical issues as a factor in their offending.

Rosslyn Dawn Gowland, David Fredrick Maslen and Adam Fishwick all admitted to cultivating a prohibited plant and possessing a prohibited drug, in addition to other charges.

Ms Gowland and Mr Maslen, both in their 50s, were co-tenants at a property on Range Court Crescent in Bayonet Head when police executed a search warrant there on March 15.

Attending officers located three cannabis plants measuring at around 1.5 metres tall and various quantities of cannabis, cannabis seeds and cannabis products at the home.

Ms Gowland also pleaded guilty to possessing a brass pipe in which traces of cannabis oil were found, while Mr Maslen admitted to possessing cannabis butter and 1.7 kilograms of dry cannabis material.

His defence lawyer Graeme Payne said the material was in the form of dry plant stalks that “clearly couldn’t be used” or distributed into the community.

According to Mr Payne, both Ms Gowland and Mr Maslen used cannabis to manage the pain that arose from a number of medical issues.

He said Ms Gowland, a mother of two adult kids and grandmother to 11 grandchildren, suffered from arthritis and a painful ailment in her legs and also took anti-inflammatory medicine and anti-depressants.

Mr Maslen repeatedly rubbed his right knee during the court proceedings and was said to be in need of a full knee reconstruction, in addition to suffering from arthritis and “aches and pain”.

Magistrate Raelene Johnston fined Mr Maslen and Ms Gowland $1000 and $900 respectively on top of court costs.

“You need to find other ways to deal with your significant health issues,” she told Ms Gowland.

In a separate case, Mr Fishwick pleaded guilty to a list of offences that included cultivating and possessing a prohibited plant, possessing a prohibited drug and possessing drug paraphernalia.

The 59-year-old had been acting as a full-time carer for someone on his property for around 10 years when police searched the property at 2:50pm on April 11.

Prosecuting Sergeant Dave Loverock said the officers located two cannabis plants that were each around 40cm tall and 44 disturbed patches of dirt, as well as various sandwich bags filled with an overall large amount of cannabis.

Mr Payne said Mr Fishwick was born with only one kidney, regularly experiences both headache and migraines and suffers side-effects when he uses regular pharmaceuticals.

He said Mr Fishwick’s health issues had impacted on his employment prospects and relationships and that cannabis had been his only remedy.

According to Mr Payne, Mr Fishwick “doesn’t ever smoke the cannabis” and instead consumed it in the form of blended juices or with other oils, which he vaporised in a vaporiser.

“It is a large quantity … he has learned from the experience,” Mr Payne said.

Ms Johnston accepted that Mr Fishwick had “no nefarious purposes”.

“Obviously it’s very unfortunate you have these conditions but you are not permitted to possess cannabis,” she told him.

Mr Fishwick also pleaded guilty to possessing two laser pointers, which are considered a controlled weapon under Western Australian law, and failing to ensure safe-keeping of a firearm or ammunition.

A total of 47 .22 ammunition rounds were found unsecured and not held separate to a firearm, according to Sgt Loverock.

Mr Payne said his client used his .22 rifle for vermin control on his 215 acre property and that the laser pointers had been bought overseas for the “novelty patterns” that they made.

Mr Fishwick was sentenced with an eight month community based order and a $200 fine for each of three of the charges.

The Narcotic Drugs Act 1967 was amended by the Australian Government in February 2016.

According to the WA Department of Health, while the change allowed for the cultivation of cannabis for medicinal or scientific purposes under a national licensing scheme, they did not permit the personal or home cultivation of cannabis.