Lerwick man who grew large quantity of cannabis sent to prison

A man who grew large amounts of cannabis in his flat for personal use was jailed for eight months on Wednesday. Ian Leask, 43, of Lerwick’s Park Lane, admitted having the Class B drug there between May and September.

Lerwick Sheriff Court heard that police carried out a search of the flat after smelling the drug emanating from the flat. Procurator fiscal Duncan MacKenzie said officers found a “very large” cannabis plant inside a cupboard during the course of the search.

They also discovered boxes of cannabis leaf and cannabis buds that appeared to have been stripped from another plant. The court heard the weight of the “organic material” was just under two kilogrammes, which would have a potential street value of £10,000 as an absolute maximum.

However it was accepted Leask had only been growing the drug for personal consumption. He fully admitted cultivating the cannabis for his own use when interviewed by police.

“This would appear to be a man who spends his entire life sitting in his flat simply growing and smoking cannabis,” Mr MacKenzie said. He said Leask was a man who “fails to accept the Misuse of Drugs act applies to him”.

Leask was remanded in custody after appearing in court in private on 25th September. He pled guilty to a summary complaint earlier this month. Sentence was deferred until this week to allow reports to be compiled.

Defence agent Chris Dowle said Leask did not accept the value of the drug which had been mentioned by Mr MacKenzie. He said Leask had also taken issue with a social inquiry report which concluded he was likely to offend again.

“He has asked me to express his disagreement with the conclusion that he poses a high risk of re-offending,” said Mr Dowle. He added Leask had struggled while being held on remand, and had expressed a willingness to make changes to his life.

He said Leask had received a “concrete offer” of a job with almost immediate start – an opportunity he was especially eager to take up, as he had failed to hold down a job for over 10 years.

Leask had no savings which would have helped him to pay a fine, but the court heard he was willing to accept any community-based disposal as an alternative to custody.

Sentencing, Sheriff Patrick Davies said he took into account that Leask had only been growing the drug for personal use, but said it did serve to introduce more cannabis into the overall supply.

He said he “favoured” the view given in the social inquiry report that Leask was likely to offend again over Leask’s own assessment that he did not pose any future risk. “Imprisonment is the only appropriate disposal,” he said.

Sending him down, sheriff Davies backdated his sentence to 25th September when Leask was first held on remand.


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