A Beckwith Street man’s obligations of a $10,000 child maintenance bill, six children and his house to finish drove him to cultivate cannabis, a court heard Tuesday.
Rodney Alphonso Gill gave police that explanation when they executed a search warrant at his home on Labour Day and discovered 3.5 pounds of cannabis, the Crown told the District A Magistrate’s Court. The illegal substance had an over $7,000 estimated street value.
Police prosecutor Victoria Taitt said 15 plants ranging from two to five feet were found in Gill’s backyard behind a half-finished wall and another seven of about two feet were also found on the premises.
Asked to account for the marijuana plants, Gill said: “These are my plants. I grow for me to complete my house, put on the roof and [pay] child maintenance of $10,000.”
Despite making that declaration last Saturday, Gill apologized for his action when he appeared before Chief Magistrate Ian Weekes.
“I want to apologise for growing an illegal substance… having it in my possession. I am laid off right now. I have six children,” the 45-year-old labourer told the court after pleading to charges of possession, possession with intent to supply, possession with intent to traffic and cultivation of cannabis.
Gill then urged the court to impose a fine on him. But Weekes told him that would defeat the purpose as he had already turned to growing herb to make ends meet.
Instead, the Chief Magistrate sentenced Gill, who had prior convictions, to a six-month suspended sentence. It will be imposed on Gill if he is found guilty of any charges during the next 18 months.