Court defence up in smoke

RAINBOW Love owner Peter William Hughes was shocked when police charged him with an offence of displaying a water pipe after seeing two 'bongs' displayed on his store counter in Nimbin.

“I was not aware it was illegal to sell them,” Hughes, 56, told Lismore Local Court Magistrate Michael Dakin.

“I brought them off a reputable trader. GST was paid.

“It's a bit unfair that I couldn't sell (them). I saw them being sold in Lismore last week.”

Hughes pleaded guilty to charges of possession of marijuana and displaying a water pipe in his Cullen Street store on June 10.

He said the small amount of cannabis he had was 'just a butt' that was one inch long with part of the length a filter and the other half a tobacco and marijuana mix.

“I bought the water pipe under the impression it was legal,” he said.

“I was just trying to make a buck in these hard economic times.”

When Nimbin police officers walked into his store they smelt burning cannabis.

Asked about the smell Hughes had replied it was the smell of incense. Two water pipes sitting on top of the counter had price tags and the officers seized the 'bongs'.

Mr Dakin said Hughes had previously been convicted of drug offences in 1997, 2006 and 2007.

The magistrate fined Hughes $200 for the water pipe offence and $200 for the cannabis offence.



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