Farmer jailed after police find huge cannabis crop
A farmer who started growing medicinal marijuana at his property to treat his wife's epileptic seizures has been jailed for almost three years for trafficking and cultivating the substance.
Christo Quinn, 52, and his wife Raelene, 60, were both charged with drug trafficking and cultivation offences after police raided their farm in Moliagul, west of Bendigo, in May 2021.
Officers found 66kg of dried cannabis and 160 plants at the farm, where the couple also grew vegetables, and farmed chickens and livestock.
The plants were found hanging from the ceiling on chains and the dried cannabis was inside duffle bags and bins.
The couple were jailed for nine-and-a half-months in 2021 after being refused bail by a magistrate. While in jail, Mrs Quinn suffered four major seizures due to her epilepsy and required hospitalisation.
Charges against the woman were dropped after her husband pleaded guilty to trafficking and cultivating a commercial quantity of cannabis.
His lawyer previously told the County Court about 41kg of the dried marijuana was for personal and medical use, to treat his wife's epilepsy. The remaining 25kg was for sale.
Quinn, a farmer of 30 years, was described as a "gentle", "kind and caring" man in references to the court, who gave back to his community through volunteering in animal welfare and conservation.
The property, which houses his wife and elderly mother, belonged to his stepfather who died in 2016 after suffering Parkinson's disease.
The farm will likely be seized by authorities due to the offending.
"It was submitted that the possible forfeiture of the property constitutes an additional punishment and must be considered in determining the appropriate sentence," Judge Stewart Bayles said, as he sentenced Quinn on Wednesday.
"The sentence that I impose upon you must convey to the community that people who choose to offend in this or a similar way must expect to receive stern punishment.
"At the same time, I accept that there are some unusual features to the overall circumstances of the offending."
Quinn was jailed for two years and nine months, and must serve 14 months before he will be eligible for parole. He has already served nine-and-a-half months of his sentence.