Dover father Darren Smith spared jail for growing cannabis plants after road accident
by Paul Hooper
A Dover father-of-five claimed he was caught growing 177
cannabis plants to help deal with injuries caused by a road
Darren Smith, 44, said he had tried "prescription medicine and
alcohol" to alleviate the pain in his legs.
But when they did not work, Smith, of Guildford Avenue,
Whitfield, turned to smoking cannabis, Canterbury Crown Court
When he was arrested, the grandfather of eight told police said:
"I don't sell it.. I just grow it."
Prosecutor Alastair Keith told how police had raided Smith's
home and discovered the plants in an outhouse building.
Smith - who is on income support as well as disability
living and mobility allowances - admitted cultivating the
plants that had a potential value of £23,000 if sold on the
Judge Nigel Van Der Bijl ruled the bulk of the yield was for
Smith's personal use, but some would be used "for onward casual
Danny Moore, defending, said: "This wasn't for some spectacular
commercial enterprise, but would have been a supply on a pretty
low-level to fund the operation."
He said Smith had been injured in a car accident and had
received a pay-out but still suffered from his leg
Darren Smith was
sentenced at Canterbury Crown Court
Mr Moore said: "He has a disability and has been signed off sick
since a very young age because of a crushed fracture following a
road traffic accident.
"He has tried everything from prescription medicine to alcohol
and latterly cannabis to deal with his pain issues."
Smith was given an 18-month jail sentence - suspended for two
years - and ordered to remain in his home between 9pm and 7am
for the next three months.
The judge said: "This is quite a high amount and for most
people, I suspect, would think the court could only send you to
prison; if only to provide a deterrent.
"But I ask what is the point of sending you to prison? Sometimes
the public is better served by taking you away from drugs."
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