Judge shows mercy on man who gave sick wife Cannabis soup
A smallholder who grew a huge crop of cannabis has been spared jail after telling a Judge he used it to make home made medicine to treat his sick wife.
Glen Bellamy, aged 53, reared 40 plants which produced a bumper crop of more than two kilograms of the drug without realising it was worth up to £25,000 on the streets.
He used it to mix a type of herbal tea or added it to food in the hope of relieving the pain of his seriously ill wife, who suffers from a chronic ailment which requires occasional hospital treatment.
Bellamy, who has stables and land at Limestone Grange, at Ideford, near Chudleigh, escaped with a suspended sentence after a judge ruled he posed no danger of re-offending.
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He admitted production of cannabis and was jailed for 20 months, suspended for two years, curfewed for three months, and ordered to pay £425 by Recorder Mr James Tindal at Exeter Crown Court.
The judge had conducted a special hearing on an earlier occasion to establish the facts of the case at which he accepted Bellamy’s assertion that he was growing the drugs for the use of himself and his wife and had no intention of selling the surplus.
In sentencing him to told him:”When I first looked at this case and saw you were cultivating 40 plants which yielded 2.25 kilograms which were worth somewhere between £18,000 and £25,000 I thought an immediate prison sentence was inevitable.
“When I was told the cannabis was being grown for personal use I was cynical, if not skeptical but having heard from you and your wife I accept entirely your account.
“You say you grew it to help her health condition and your evidence amplified each other. You were also concerned about obtaining cannabis from other sources.
“On that basis I found that this case falls at the bottom of the scale and this was entirely for your personal use.
“However, this does not avoid the fact this was a sophisticated set up which could have been used for commercial supply although I accept it was not.
“I adjourned the case for a probation officer to assess your suitability for a suspended sentence and I need only read the conclusions.
“The officer wrote this offence was entirely out of character and motivated by the best intentions and the defendant does not pose a risk of further offending or harm to the public. It said the defendant had one of the lowest scores ever seen on a risk assessment and had expressed remorse.
“I entirely endorse and echo those observations. I am struggling to think of a case in which the risk of a breach of a suspended sentence is so low.
“However, I am imposing the curfew because there has to be some degree of immediate punishment.
“The exceptional circumstances of your wife’s illness led to this offence and since then you and your wife have found alternative ways of dealing with that illness.”
Mr Gordon Richings, prosecuting, said police found a sophisticated set up at Bellamy’s home when it was searched last year and 40 flourishing plants with a crop of 2.25 kilograms recovered.
Bellamy told the Recorder at an earlier hearing he and his wife started using cannabis for pain relief but found it difficult and dangerous buying from street dealers.
He said he started growing his own in a shed without realising the size of the crop it would produce. He said they needed more cannabis than a normal user to achieve the same effect because neither were smokers and they preferred to take it in infusions which diluted its potency.
They also mixed the drug with chocolate and butter, which they spread on food and some of which was found in the fridge at their home.
Mr James Farquarson, defending, said Mrs Bellamy’s condition is such that she sometimes has to spend two weeks at a time in hospital receiving treatment.