Woodburn father, son sentenced over 112 cannabis plants

A WOODBURN father and son who cultivated 112 cannabis plants have escaped jail time because of COVID-19 concerns.

Norman William Brine, 69, and his son Kurt Brine, 35 had both previously pleaded guilty to cultivating a prohibited plant and possessing 1.53kg of cannabis, while Norman also pleaded guilty to supplying a prohibited drug.

Police had raided their Woodburn home in July, where the plants were discovered in tents throughout the house.

Both men appeared in the dock, while maintaining the required 1.5m social distance, at Lismore District Court on Monday to be sentenced after the matter was adjourned last week.

After Norman's solicitor had raised concerns for her client's health conditions, and the fact his age meant he could be left vulnerable if A COVID-19 outbreak occurred within the prison system, Judge Jeffery McLennan had taken a few days to consider his sentencing judgment.

Judge McLennan said while there was at this point no concern of an outbreak occurring in the prison system, Norman's health conditions, his age and his successful rehabilitation resulted in it being "appropriate…to be more imaginative in terms of the outcome" of the custodial sentence.

Norman was sentenced to a three-year intensive correctional order, after Judge McLennan acknowledged his "unlikelihood" to reoffend and his efforts at rehabilitation.

Previously, the court had heard Norman had stopped using cannabis both recreationally and medicinally since his July arrest and was attending weekly counselling.

Meanwhile, his son, Kurt, was sentenced to a three years community corrections order.

"While Kurt was someone who was not the principal, he was someone who was an aider of his father," Judge McLennan said.

He added that he "hoped" he wouldn't see either man before the court again.

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