Man jailed for killing drug dealer
TWEED strawberry farmer Barry Grant will spend eight-and-a-half years in jail for the killing of known violent drug dealer Jethro Matheson, who went to Grant's Condong farmhouse wearing camouflage gear to steal his cannabis crop.
He was shot twice by Grant, who later dumped his body down a gully in the Border Ranges National Park.
Grant, 52, of Eviron Road, will be eligible for release in August 2019 after Justice Graham Barr, in the Supreme Court sitting in Lismore, ordered this sentence begin from February 2011 to partially overlap his sentence for drug cultivation and supply.
Grant pleaded guilty to the manslaughter of Matheson, 30, from Brisbane, at Condong on January 15, 2009; wilfully disposing of the body before the Coroner could hold an inquiry; cultivation of 1549 cannabis plants (large commercial quantity); and supplying a prohibited drug - 8.14kg of cannabis.
Grant was sentenced to four years' jail (non-parole) on the drug cultivation offence, backdated to February 2009 when he was arrested; two years for the supply of cannabis offence (also February 2009); 12 months for disposing of Matheson's body; and 12 years on the manslaughter charge, with the non-parole period set at eight-and-a-half years.
Looking visibly haggard as he sat in the dock, the father of six was also convicted of diverting the electricity supply (unmetered) to the value of $7953.
Grant pleaded guilty to the manslaughter charge on the grounds he used excessive defence after being attacked by Matheson inside his home.
Justice Barr found Grant began growing cannabis because of financial issues, including mortgages and separation from his wife.
Grant's former girlfriend, Donna McClymont, who later had a relationship with drug dealer Matheson, told Matheson about Grant's crops and Matheson twice raided the property and stole plants.
In a previous confrontation, Grant alleged Matheson threatened to kill him during that attack.
The judge said Matheson was 'a violent and frightening man' with Grant buying a pistol and installing cameras to protect himself and his illegal crop. The pistol was used to shoot Matheson, who arrived that night with his henchman.
When Matheson went to the front door Grant fired two bullets into his chest.
Grant claimed Matheson hit him twice with a crowbar before he was able to shoot him, with the judge finding it was Grant's intention to kill him.