Magistrate dismisses supply charge but fines man $700 for possession of Cannabis

A 45-year-old man caught with almost half-a-kilogram of cannabis leaf in his vehicle has had a charge of supplying drugs dismissed, but been fined for possessing a prohibited substance.

James Victor Hodges appeared in Dubbo Local Court on Tuesday on charges dating back to January 12.

Mr Hodges was pulled over by police in Lovett Avenue, with a subsequent search revealing a large bag containing cannabis located in the boot of his vehicle, as well as multiple ‘Eclipse’ mint tins that also contained the substance.

When questioned about the drugs, Mr Hodges told the court the entire amount was for his own personal use.

He outlined how he had cultivated his own cannabis plant, and that the matter found in the large bag was reaped from that plant.

He added that the four mint tins found in the front of the car had been purchased in the carpark of a Talbragar Street hotel, calling it “an offer of opportunity”.

Detailing some personal issues he was going through at the time, including his mother’s severe illness, Mr Hodges told how he would smoke cannabis up to three times a day when he had access to the drug.

When it was put to him by the prosecution that the drugs contained in the mint tins were going to be sold to others, Mr Hodges remained steadfast in his stance that the entire amount was for his own personal use.

Defence solicitor Kevin Hockey said there were no other items located in the car that indicated Mr Hodges was a dealer, such as scales or a ‘divvy book’ and that his client’s evidence had been consistent from the time he first spoke to police, in a recorded interview and again before the court.

He also said that his client had been using cannabis as a crutch, in the same way some people use alcohol.

While admitting Mr Hodges’ evidence wasn’t as persuasive as it could have been, Magistrate Hayes added that an argument had been established that the drug was for self use rather than supply.

He dismissed the supply charge, before fining Mr Hodges $700 for possessing a prohibited substance.