Court hears of cannabis ID doubt

AN agronomist working with police issued a certificate identifying 1400 plants as cannabis, despite inspecting only half of them, Lismore District Court has heard.

Under cross-examination by defence barrister Peter O’Connor, agronomist Greg Wassell also conceded he would be unable to tell industrial hemp from cannabis.

The court heard Mr Wassell examined 600 or 700 alleged cannabis plants seized during a raid on Wayne John Maslin’s property at Loadstone, north of Kyogle, in 2005. However, the certificate he issued identifying the plants as cannabis extended to all 1400.

As a result of the raid, Maslin, 49, of Miami, is fighting charges of supplying cannabis and supplying a prohibited plant.

Mr O’Connor suggested Mr Wassell’s analysis of the plants had been rushed, saying he might have spent as little as half an hour examining them.

Mr Wassell said he spent about 90 minutes examining the plants before they were incinerated at a Leeville sawmill.

Asked about the difference between industrial hemp and narcotic cannabis, Mr Wassell responded: “I believe there’s a difference, but what it is I’m not sure.”

The court also heard the raid on Maslin’s property followed a raid by Queensland police on his Robina unit, where they seized several kilograms of cannabis leaf.

In a recorded interview with Queensland police Maslin said he had bought the cannabis for his own use.

The trial continues.



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