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Cannabis crusader told to stop screaming by judge

Peter Till has been denied bail.
Peter Till has been denied bail.

NIMBIN cannabis crusader Peter Till has failed in his bid for bail over commercial cannabis cultivation charges despite claiming his chronic health problems are getting worse in custody.

Till gave evidence at his Lismore District Court bail hearing today that he was "s**ting blood" in jail due to long-term abdominal problems and had been denied proper treatment.

"All I got was a finger up the arse, that was it. That's all a doctor did," he told the court from the witness box.

The 49-year-old is accused of cultivating a commercial quantity of cannabis, and supplying an indictable amount of the drug in relation to a police raid on March 22 on a Mountain Top property near Nimbin.

Till had earlier posted a video of himself on Facebook at the cannabis plantation, which contained 512 plants with an estimated street value of $700,000.

Wearing a green prison jumpsuit and his characteristic long goatie and black eye patch, Till appeared agitated during his bail hearing, repeatedly shaking his head and at times hunching over.

At one point Judge Dina Yehia was forced to interrupt Till while he was giving evidence because his voice became louder and louder.

"I'm not going to conduct proceedings with him screaming in the witness box," Judge Yehia said.

"Just calm down and speak civilly," she told Till.

Till's barrister Jason Watts tendered a 20-page patient health summary listing his client's two major health issues - the abdominal problems since 2007 which had caused persistent bloating, bloody stools, and cramping, as well trauma induced glaucoma which had been caused by a penetrating eye injury he suffered in 2001.

Mr Watts said Till's medical conditions were "deteriorating" and there appeared to be "an exacerbation of long standing issues relating to his abdominal pain".

Mr Watts said neither of the conditions had been properly attended to by doctors since Till had been in jail.

But Mr Watts had been unable to access Justice Health records relating to Till's medical treatment in custody, which may have proven crucial in Till's case for bail.

Till told the court that the pain in his eye was like a "hot iron rod" and so bad he would "throw up, pass out, (have) constant headaches... Panadol doesn't work because the pressure in my eye builds up all the time."

"Since I've been inside my whole vision in my right eye has gone black and my left eye is getting blurry as well," he said.

Mr Watts asked him: "Have you received any treatment from Justice Health in relation to your right eye?"

Till replied: "No".

"I need to do something about the eye... before it goes completely dead," he said.

"I can't afford to have (blindness) in both eyes."

Under cross examination, prosecutor Mr Gordon asked Till why he wasn't more proactive about his health ailments in the 10 years prior to his most recent arrest.

Till said he had used cannabis to cope with the pain.

"Both (my) doctors have written that cannabis is the best treatment to stop pain in the right eye," he said.

"The cannabis eased it.... at the time it relieved the pain and reduced the pressure."

But the prosecution argued that there was "nothing to show" that Till had ever made a complaint to Justice Health about his lack of treatment while in custody.

His failure to seek proper medical care since his condition arose in 2007 was "his own fault, no one else's fault," Mr Gordon said.

"They've done numerous tests on his stools, there has been no blood ever found," he said.

Mr Gordon also told the court he had signed a document that he wouldn't use cannabis as part of a bail agreement which he later intentionally breached.

In denying bail, Judge Yehia said Till was facing serious charges and there appeared to be a "strong" Crown case.

She said Till had a "history of non-compliance with bail conditions", citing several Facebook posts in which Till had claimed "I will not do bail". He had also failed to attend court on a number of occasions.

"I do find that it would be an unacceptable risk," Judge Yehia said.

She did note that the court was in a "disadvantaged position" due to the lack of Till's records from Justice Health.

Till will reappear before the District Court on November 22 to face a fitness hearing to determine whether he is fit for trial.

Topics:  bail editors picks northern rivers court peter till



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