Police recordings throw light on love of high lifestyle

HE idolised his uncle and his fast-living, cashed-up lifestyle, but for young Tweed cannabis grower Michael James Stock, life's harsher realities took a tumble this week when he was jailed for three years by a Lismore District Court judge.

Stock, 26, from Cudgera Creek Road, pleaded guilty to growing a commercial quantity of cannabis following police raids that uncovered cannabis crops growing hydroponically in hidden rooms of sheds, and in two homes on a rural property owned by his father.

He also pleaded guilty to using/consuming electricity valued at $7197 that was not metered after an electrical bypass was illegally installed.

The drug charge involved 475 plants including 60 plants found in 'the front house' where Stock lived on June 30, 2008.

Judge James Black sentenced Stock to a term of five years and three months and set a non-parole term of three years. With time already served it makes him eligible for release in June 2011.

In evidence before court Stock's 'front house' held two rooms lined with plastic, with lights suspended from the ceiling and ballast boxes on the walls.

In police monitored conversations before the raid, Stock was recorded telling a relative the cannabis plants had 'jumped nearly two and a half, three feet ... they're hitting the lights because of the good stuff I'm using'.

Stock was also involved with the cultivation of 415 other cannabis plants (located in sheds) involving the occupant of the rear house who is now serving a jail sentence for his role.

Stock's defence counsel Graham Bassett said it was conceded that one crop had been pulled from the rear house but had not been for his client's benefit alone, but shared with other people.

Mr Bassett said Stock did not dispute he had been involved in the rear house where the 415 plants were found.

The counsel mentioned again the 'influence' the uncle, who is also facing drug charges, had on his client, stating there were 'interesting family dynamics'.

“He became in awe of his uncle and was trying to emulate his lifestyle, engaging in illegal activity,” Mr Bassett said.

Judge Black in his finding found that Stock knew it was illegal but was attracted by the advantages of successfully leading this lifestyle.

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