ACT News

'Towards stupidity': Two men sentenced over almost 80 cannabis plants in truck

Two men found with nearly 80 cannabis plants in the back of their truck have been sentenced in the ACT Supreme Court with their lawyer describing their actions as "towards stupidity".

Andrew James O'Keefe, 24, and Adam Jabal, 24, appeared before Justice John Burns on Friday afternoon and were both placed on 14-month good-behaviour orders and fined.

In July 2013, police observed green water smelling heavily of cannabis pouring from the back of a truck travelling on Mulligans Flat Road around 1.30pm on a Monday afternoon.

When officers pulled the truck over, they discovered 78 mature cannabis plants in the rear of the vehicle.

Court documents reveal police officers had begun monitoring the truck after it was seen at a Charnwood property earlier in the day.

The court heard O'Keefe, of Spence, had arrived at the property and noticed the mature cannabis plants in the empty swimming pool. He then left the property and returned with a truck.

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O'Keefe loaded the plants into the back of the truck and delivered the vehicle to a McKellar address, where Jabal then became the driver.

Officers then raided the Charnwood house and arrested O'Keefe, who allegedly attempted to escape arrest by jumping the back fence.

Police said a search of the property uncovered a sophisticated hydroponic set-up in two rear sheds, which included pots, heat lamps, soil, a water system and modified electrical connections.

Justice Burns said there was no evidence alleging Jabal or O'Keefe intended to sell the drugs or that O'Keefe had been involved in the cultivation of the crop at the property.

He did not accept, however, that Jabal had intended to drive the truck to his family's farm outside of Canberra to dispose of the mature cannabis plants.

O'Keefe pleaded guilty to attempting to help someone he believed was involved in a criminal act to escape conviction . He was fined $7500. 

Jabal pleaded guilty to possessing more than 25 grams of cannabis and was fined $2000.

The prosecution called for the offenders to be sentenced to community service, but Justice Burns said O'Keefe and Jabal had a low risk of reoffending and had no previous convictions.

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