This client guide has been prepared in response to numerous queries from our criminal defence clients who have approached us having been dissatisfied with the advice that they have received from other sources when they have been prosecuted for cannabis cultivation offences.
Unlike many other lawyers practising in this area, we always instruct forensic experts to comment on the conclusions relied on by the Prosecution when presenting their case to the court.
We have an exemplary track record in obtaining successful outcomes and persuading the courts in numerous cultivation cases not to impose custodial sentences on our clients.
Typical Clients that we have represented include small scale cultivators operating a “cottage industry” type operations in their bedrooms or attics with a small number of plants to middle level cultivation operations where for example, an entire house or apartment will be dedicated to growing drugs to the upper end cannabis farms often undercover in green houses.
First of all, we have a detailed and in-depth knowledge of the drugs market. We know that the price for controlled drugs fluctuates and varies depending on numerous factors including:-
Where in the country it is sold
The quality and strength
The relationship between the buyer and seller
Law enforcement policies
There is a huge difference in the market value of certain strands of skunk with a high THC content and field cannabis that has been imported or poorer quality home grown material.
Often we find that the police do not distinguish correctly between the value of the different strains i.e. skunk and herbal and will include in their estimates leafs as well as herbal cannabis. Consequently, the valuations relied on by the police, which are critical in sentencing, are often grossly inflated.
By reducing the value of the total cannabis discovered by the police as accepted by the court and it is likely that you will receive a lesser sentence.
Challenging the Police Experts Report
When a police raid takes place it will be difficult in court to dispute the evidence that is obtained as to the nature of the operation i.e. the number of lights, the technical details of the irrigation system, the number of plants found, as well as cuttings as well the nature of the operation. Based on this information, the officer investigating the case will produce an estimate of what he considers the crop to be worth on the open market.
Normally the calculation made by the officer (who may not be an expert in drug offences but will claim to the court that he is based on a number of cases he has been involved in) are often plain wrong and can be easily rebutted.
For example, in the cases we have been involved in, we regularly find that officers exaggerate the potential yield of a crop.
These conclusions can easily be rebutted but only if your lawyers have the expert knowledge and experience of dealing with these types of cases.