Two men appeared separately at Lerwick Sheriff Court today after each admitting growing cannabis.
Malcolm Stove, 46, of Veester Hill in Sandwick, was fined £500 and ordered to wear a tag for three months. He was also told to complete 170 hours of unpaid work within a nine-month time frame.
Stove had previously admitted growing cannabis on 18th February, breaking the Misuse of Drugs Act.
Meanwhile Richard Ball, 26, of Dalsetter Wynd in Dunrossness, was fined the same amount. He was also told to do 170 hours of work, but was spared from a restriction of liberty order. He had admitted producing the Class B drug at his home on 11th June.
Defence agent Tommy Allan successfully argued Stove’s case could warrant a non-custodial sentence. He said there was no question of Stove growing the drugs for anyone other than himself.
Sheriff Philip Mann told Stove a prison term could normally be expected for such an offence. But he agreed to allow Stove his liberty.
The sheriff said: “Normally a custodial sentence is very much at the forefront of any sheriff’s mind for this type of offence. There’s no evidence that this was anything other than a production for your own use. The complaint against you relates to a single day.”
Later, Mr Allan told the court the possible threat of a custodial sentence had had a serious impact on Ball. But he insisted Ball had “not just given up”.
Mr Allan said: “He’s not just sat in his house and turned up at my office and said, ‘I’ll tell the court I’ll start to work on this’. He’s done what he could to get to grips with his involvement with CADSS and his doctor as well.
“Clearly things have been a struggle for him to deal with, but he’s done everything he has been asked to do.”
Sheriff Mann told Ball: “It’s accepted the production of cannabis was for your own use. You’re charged with producing it on a single date, and you pled guilty at an early stage.”