St Marys man sent to jail after growing cannabis in backyard

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A St Marys man growing cannabis in his backyard has been sentenced to six months in jail.

Phillip Ward, 48, fronted Penrith Local Court via video link on Friday, February 24, charged with ‘contravene prohibition/restriction in an apprehended domestic violence order’ and ‘cultivate a prohibited plant’.

“He is growing drugs while he’s serving a jail sentence in the community,” Magistrate Fiona Toose said.

The court heard that Ward is currently subject to an Intensive Correction Order (ICO) with mandatory supervision.

He was represented by a lawyer who told the magistrate that his client has also been diagnosed with bipolar disorder and schizophrenia.

“Clearly the supervision didn’t go so far as to ensure you weren’t growing prohibited plants,” Magistrate Toose said.

According to court documents, an Apprehended Domestic Violence Order (ADVO) was served on the accused in 2021.

The conditions included that he must not approach or be in the victim’s company within 12 hours of drinking alcohol or taking illicit drugs.

According to police facts, Ward planted several cannabis plants in early 2022.

They say he intended to grow them for his own personal use and made an enclosure using scrap fencing, chicken mesh and a blue tarp like object.

It is alleged that the victim called Triple Zero on Wednesday, February 22, concerned that arguments were escalating.

They allegedly believed that the accused was drug-affected, but Ward had already left the scene by the time police arrived.

According to police, the victim told them about the accused’s cannabis plants.

They say they contacted the accused who voluntarily attended St Marys Police Station.

It is alleged that was acting in an erratic manner, highly emotional and disheveled upon arrival. When questioned, he advised that he was the sole grower.

He was placed under arrest and escorted to Nepean Hospital due to his mental health.

Magistrate Toose was not surprised that Ward had breached his ADVO and ICO.

“It’s quite clear that you don’t comply with court orders,” she said.

Ward was convicted and sentenced to six months imprisonment.

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