Westport drug dealer gets home detention


A Westport drug dealer was sentenced in the Greymouth District Court on Friday to nine months’ home detention and 150 hours of community work.
Ian Alfred Cole, 58, appeared for sentencing on charges of possessing cannabis for supply, possessing LSD, and cannabis cultivation.
He had 1436g of cannabis head — much of it in bags labelled with their respective weights — in backpacks, plus 6kg of cannabis leaf in a freezer when his car and house were searched on June 25, 2011. A search of the car revealed a small amount of cannabis, tweezers, three tabs of LSD and a small set of scissors in a metal container, 3g in a tobacco pouch and about 500g of cannabis head, much of it in self-sealing plastic bags labelled with their weights.
A search of Cole’s house revealed three self-sealing bags each containing an ounce of cannabis, another 936g of head in a backpack and 6kg of leaf in an old freezer.
Police also found digital scales, $2000 in cash, and a grow-room holding 20 new cannabis plants.
He denied being a drug dealer but an expert told a jury trial in June it would have been physically impossible for Cole, smoking five to six joints a day, to use up the 1.5kg of cannabis head within two years, without worrying about the leaf in the freezer, or the product from the new plants.
The jury found him guilty of possessing the drugs in the car for sale but not guilty in relation to all the cannabis in the house. Cole had told the Probation Service that he would not partake in any form of electronically monitored sentence but, when faced with prison instead, recanted.
He sought a community detention sentence which would allow him to continue his work as a handyman but Judge Alastair Garland said that was not appropriate.
“Community detention is not sufficient to meet the purposes and principles of sentencing.”