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News / Cannabis cultivator

A PARAPLEGIC man convicted of growing cannabis in his Shetland home has told Lerwick Sheriff Court he does not believe in drug laws.

Neil Winters was severely disabled in an accident 24 years ago and is bed ridden at his home at 7 Stove Cottages, Walls, where he receives regular nursing care.

Police acting on a tip off raided the 46 year old’s house on 24 January last year and found 82 cannabis plants with a potential street value of £300 each.

Procurator fiscal Duncan Mackenzie said he accepted the drugs were for personal use to help alleviate his painful condition, but suggested there was a risk of other people finding out about his cultivation.

Defence agent James Smith said that Winters had been prescribed a cannabinoid spray to help his condition, but it only had limited effect.

He added that his client already had two convictions for drug offences and was likely to procure cannabis again.

“I think it’s safe to say he will probably continue to source cannabis, but whether he cultivates it again is another matter,” he said.

The court heard that originally Winters had elected to go on trial to change the law, but had been told there was no point so he had pled guilty.

Sheriff Marion McDonald read out comments he made in a social work report, in which he said: “I don’t recognise a law which stops one from keeping oneself alive and well.”

In light of these comments, the sheriff said she would defer sentence for six months for him to be of good behaviour.

She also ordered all his growing equipment to be forfeited, despite his request to keep them to grow aloe vera plants that he also cultivated.

He was allowed to have his mobile phone returned.

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