A man who facilitated a sophisticated hydroponic cannabis-growing operation at his $1.1 million property is set to face "an oncoming battle" over the forfeiture of that property after walking free from court.
Edmund Scott Krizaic, 41, faced sentencing in the ACT Supreme Court on Thursday after initially pleading not guilty to one count of cultivating a trafficable quantity of cannabis before changing it to guilty on the fifth mention of his matter.
The Supreme Court heard that the self-employed builder decided to help "an old acquaintance" in facilitating the cultivation of 32 plants at his Higgins property.
The property was separated into three sections, with the ground level leased to a tenant who had no access to the other two sections on a higher level.
One of the sections above was converted to facilitate the cannabis operation. Access to it was tightly controlled, partly with an electronically operated steel gate and padlock.
Krizaic agreed to facilitate the operation in return for profit from the sales, but police busted the operation during a search in July last year.
At the time, Krizaic was not residing at the place, but he has since moved there permanently and is living alone.
The court heard he described the decision to get involve as "stupid".
Chief Justice Helen Murrell sentenced Krizaic to a fully suspended six-month jail term, with a good-behaviour order for 12 months.
She disagreed with the Crown's submission that jail was not the only option, and the defence's call for only a good-behaviour bond.
In response to the Crown, she said "that seems like a very generous submission ... given the size of the plants and their number and the fact that the operation was somewhat sophisticated."
She said a jail term, albeit fully suspended, was the only appropriate sentence because "a lesser sentence would fail to reflect the objective seriousness of the offence".
"This sort of offence is quite serious. 'Quite serious' is possibly an understatement. These plants were quite well developed," she said.
However, she acknowledged that Krizaic was not the cultivator and only a facilitator of the growing operation, as well as the positive character references - including his voluntary work in the community - and the pre-sentence report stating that he had a low risk of reoffending.
Earlier in the hearing, defence lawyer James Maher said the property was liable to forfeiture and it was "an oncoming battle" that Krizaic faces.
"Involving himself in this type of offending is very much an anomaly," Mr Maher said.
"He accepts full responsibility for his actions. He understands the severity of the offending. He recognises the harm that this sort of offending can have on the community.
"There is evidence of his embarrassment and remorse."
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