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Pot-growing Prison Officer Gets Probation

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A man who grew marijuana plants in his backyard shed while working as a
correctional officer at a youth prison in Burnaby was put on probation for
a year Thursday and ordered to do 70 hours of community and volunteer work.

Daniel Patrick Hogan testified he suffered from chronic pain caused by a
knee injury he suffered at work in 1989, and that surgery and drugs did not
give relieve the pain.

Hogan ruled out seeking a medical exemption from Health Canada that would
have allowed him to use the illegal plant, because his employer, the B.C.
children and family development ministry, would have been notified.

He said he decided to grow marijuana for his own use because he didn't want
to support organized crime by buying marijuana.

However, in February, 2002, police found 26 marijuana plants growing in
soil-filled buckets in a small room constructed in a garden shed in Hogan's
yard. He was fired from his government job in May, 2002.

Just how police learned there were pot plants in Hogan's garden shed wasn't
disclosed in court Thursday. According to the judge's written reasons on
sentence, Hogan's wife was shocked when police searched the family home,
and she didn't know her husband had been growing marijuana. (The federal
justice department also laid drug charges against his wife, but the judge
acquitted her.)

"I've been set up," Hogan said outside provincial court in Surrey after he
was sentenced.

The federal justice department had also charged Hogan with possession of
marijuana for the purposes of trafficking -- a charge the trial judge threw
out last August -- and Hogan's lawyer blasted the federal justice
department for laying the more serious trafficking charge, saying that was
what resulted in his client being fired.

According to the written reasons on sentence that Judge A.E. Rounthwaite
released Thursday, Hogan filed a grievance after losing his correctional
service job at the Youth Detention Centre in Burnaby.

The judge said Hogan is trying to remain in the B.C. Government Employees
Union so he can be retrained.

According to the written judgment last August, Hogan's doctor confirmed his
health problems and suggested marijuana would likely relieve pain and
improve his appetite and sleep.

Pubdate: Fri, 21 Nov 2003
Source: Vancouver Sun (CN BC)
Copyright: 2003 The Vancouver Sun
Contact: sunletters@png.canwest.com
Website: http://www.canada.com/vancouver/vancouversun/