A pizza delivery man who claims he was growing 40 marijuana plants behind his boss's house on Perth Road solely for his own use has been given a suspended sentence and placed on probation for a year.

Justice Judith Beaman ordered David Millar to stop using drugs and to participate, as directed by his probation supervisor, in assessment, treatment and counselling for substance abuse.

She was skeptical, however, about the claim that Millar, 40, intended to smoke the entire harvest.

"This strikes me as a little more than recreational use," she said. "It's quite a lot for a single person to use. If it is for your own use, perhaps it's time for you to reconsider your drug use."

Millar pleaded guilty in Kingston's Ontario Court of Justice to a single count of illegal marijuana production, although he neither owned nor lived at the property where the plants were found. His employer, 44-year-old Kikhosro Behjat, was also arrested in connection with the grow-op and still has charges before the court which haven't been tried, including illegal production.

Federal Crown prosecutor Bruce MacNaughton said the plants were seized on the evening of Sept. 24, 2007. Const. Craig Sharpe, an intelligence officer with Kingston Police, had obtained a search warrant for the property at 1765 Perth Rd., he told the judge, and drug unit officers executed it shortly after 5 p.m.

MacNaughton told Beaman they found a worn path leading from the rear of the house down to the end of the property, where it abuts the Little Cataraqui Creek Conservation area, and on the other side of the property line they discovered the 40 plants growing on conservation authority land.

When officers entered the house, MacNaughton said they detected the distinct odour of drying marijuana. In the basement, they found lines strung with marijuana hung to dry.

Beaman asked MacNaughton the value of the 40 confiscated plants. "There's a rule of thumb that's sometimes accepted and sometimes not," he told her, that a marijuana plant is worth $1,000. That figure assumes the plant is six feet tall, however, and there was no evidence on the height of Millar's plants presented to the judge.

Defence lawyer Peter Kemp told Beaman that his client admits to being a recreational marijuana user, and his sole reason for growing his own was to eliminate the hassle of buying it on the street and to save money because "he doesn't make much delivering pizza."

He also disclosed that Behjat is Millar's employer and it was his house and land police searched. Millar, according to Kemp, lives at home with his father.

Beaman barred Millar from his boss's Perth Road property, but said nothing about the two men continuing to work together.

Source: Kingston Whig-Standard (CN ON)
Copyright: 2008 The Kingston Whig-Standard
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