Crown yet to prove drug ownership
DEFENCE counsel for Wayne Maslin, who is accused of growing 1400 cannabis plants at his remote rural property west of Kyogle, said Crown evidence had not proven his client was responsible for growing the crop, or had ownership of 14kg of cannabis leaf police found secreted inside his cabin.
Barrister Peter O'Connor, summing up defence argument before the jury trial at Lismore District Court yesterday, said Maslin, 49, was arrested by Queensland police at his Gold Coast home at Robina on February 4, 2005, and charged with separate cannabis offences.
Five days later, NSW police searched his Loadstone property and found the cannabis plants that were then pulled out and burned at a local sawmill, but Maslin had not been arrested on the NSW matters until May 2006 with the plants ‘long gone'.
“By coincidence the stuff (drugs) in Queensland was destroyed the day before,” Mr O'Connor said.
“If it had existed a comparison could have been made (with the cannabis material found at Loadstone).”
Mr O'Connor said the evidence was that a government analysis had only looked at ‘700 to 800' of the 1400 plants that were found at Loadstone, with the actual number of plants said to have been under cultivation not proven in the Crown case.
He said the outdoor plants could also ‘sprout' from what had been growing there before as a result of previous human activity and not necessarily the person charged.
Mr O'Connor said a defence witness who was an agriculture expert had expressed doubts about the human role in the ‘unusual' planting of the crop, with no indication of any nursery-type activity such as pots found at the scene.
There was also some doubt over the narcotic value of the type of cannabis plants found, which could have been of the ‘industrial' type used for its hemp.
During the eight-day trial, Maslin maintained his innocence of the charges of knowingly take part in the cultivation (commercial) of prohibited plants and supply, stating he had no knowledge of the crops or the cannabis leaf found inside his unsecured and uncompleted cabin, instead blaming a person or persons unknown.
He also denied it was his handwriting found on labels on jars holdingvarious types of cannabis seeds.
The Crown maintained it was improbable that someone would break into Maslin's cabin to hide their cannabis, and the jury should also look at the ‘coincidences' of what was found at Loadstone and also at his Gold Coast home with cannabis found in similar type plastic containers.
Judge James Black will this morning address the jury, which will then retire to consider its verdict.