No conviction for Vic medical pot couple

Caitlin Guilfoyle

A Melbourne couple who gave medical cannabis to the terminally ill have walked from court without conviction.

Elizabeth, 66, and Matthew Pallett, 55, were each fined $500 on Thursday after asking Judge Bill Stuart not to record a conviction because they hoped for a licence to continue their work legally.

"The federal government has finally, after years of us harassing them, agreed to issue licences for exactly what we were doing," Matthew Pallett said in the Victorian County Court.

A conviction would "wipe out" the couple's chances of being involved, which would "punish" ill Victorians, he said.

The Palletts were found guilty of cultivating a narcotic plant this week, after representing themselves at trial before a jury.

Police seized 15.5 kilograms of cannabis and seeds from their Carrum Downs home last year.

The couple were co-operative, admitting they grew the drug to make a liquidised remedy for sick people, including cancer patients, who came to them for relief.

Judge Stuart said he had not come across such a case in many years as a barrister or judge.

"Your purpose in growing cannabis to produce cannabis oil was entirely altruistic," he said.

"The use of cannabis for such purposes is gradually being realised and there are moves afoot to provide such medication to a variety of different people, including those who suffer from epilepsy, which cannot be medicated conventionally."

The Palletts weren't seeking to profit off their activities, but it was still a criminal offence, the judge said.

"Civilised society requires all to abide by the same rules and laws," Judge Stuart said.

"Without it, there would be chaos."

Outside court, the Palletts said they were very relieved and praised Judge Stuart and prosecutors for their handling of the case, which they said had unintentionally become a "test case" on the issue.

"What they could do, they did. And I thank them for that," Elizabeth Pallett said.

They will immediately apply for a licence.

The couple, who are on disability support pensions, told the jury they discovered medical cannabis to relieve their own pain and did not intend to provide it to others.

Both said they could not say no when people, including mothers with terminally ill children, came to them seeking relief.

The couple were supported by a large number of people throughout the court proceedings.