R v Shaw [2016] NZDC 3517

Published 28 June 2016

Sentencing — drug related charges — cultivating cannabis — selling cannabis — possession of cannabis for sale or supply — possession of cannabis products — forgery — theft of electricity. The defendant was sentenced to 5 years and 10 months imprisonment for a raft of serious drug offending as well as forgery and theft of electricity. The offending was a “truly significant cannabis cultivation operation”. The amounts located and their potential yields were considered significant and actual sales were approximately $33,000. The defendant had made a concerted and determined effort to change his identity to avoid detection and was involved in advanced plans for setting up a fourth cannabis operation. Starting point of 7 years’ imprisonment was adopted for the cannabis offending. This was viewed as generous given the size and sophistication of the operation. There was an uplift of one year for the forgery and attempting to pervert the course of justice offending, and a small uplift for prior drug offending. Aggravating features were the size, sophistication and premeditated nature of the offending. The dishonesty offending was viewed as persistent and designed to facilitate the other offending. A full discount was given for the guilty plea, with personal circumstances and remorse also considered mitigating. The Judge declined to order a minimum period of imprisonment, stating that although the charges were serious the defendant’s criminal history was not of sufficient concern to justify such an imposition.