A 66-year-old man who said he had been growing cannabis plants around his property to feed his addiction and to use drugs for the relief of his chronic pain was given a 12-month suspended sentence in the Nuku’alofa Supreme Court.
On or about 21 July 2020 the Police received reliable information that Heamani Saafi was cultivating cannabis plants at his residence at Ha’asini.
The Police went to his house and found him there with his family. They informed him that they were there to conduct a search without a warrant.
The Police asked the accused whether he had anything unlawful at his residence whereby the Accused told them that he had three cannabis plants behind the kitchen. He led the Police to where he had planted the said cannabis plants.
He was arrested and was charged with one count of cultivation of illicit drugs contrary to section .4 (a) (ii) of the Illicit Drugs Control Act;
Saafi pleaded guilty to the charge.
On the charge of cultivation of illicit drugs, Saafi was convicted and sentenced to 2 years and 6 months’ imprisonment.
Justice Langi said the sentence was fully suspended on the following conditions:
Not to commit any further offences punishable by imprisonment for a period of2 years;
The Accused is to be placed on probation during the period of his suspension;
He is to complete the Salvation Army Drugs and Alcohol Awareness Program and Life Skills Course within the first year of his suspension;
He is to undertake 70 hours of community work as directed by the probation officer. He is to report to the probation office within 48 hours.
“As requested by the Crown, I order that the drugs seized are destroyed,” said the judge.