A Rotorua man stole almost $18,000 worth of electricity to
power a cannabis-growing operation in his Hannahs Bay home, a
court has heard.
John Kenneth David, 53, was sentenced in the Rotorua District
Court yesterday to three years and 10 months' jail after
previously pleading guilty to cultivation of cannabis,
unlawful possession of a firearm and theft of $17,685 of
The sentence also covered separate convictions for assaulting
a police officer, refusing a blood alcohol test and dangerous
Judge Chris McGuire said police searched David's Charles Rd
home on July 1 last year and found a "large, well-established
indoor cannabis cultivating operation on a commercial scale".
Cannabis was being grown in a sleepout and two bedrooms,
which had been converted with ventilation systems, fans,
digital climate and humidity gages, growing platforms and 400
watt high pressure growing lamps.
In the sleepout police found 10 "mother plants" averaging
120cm in height and 286 "clone plants" between 5cm and 12cm
In the bedrooms there were 187 plants, averaging 30cm in one
room and 60cm in the other. A further 2.06kg of cannabis leaf
was found stashed throughout the house. A shotgun was also
found under a bed.
Judge McGuire said at least six growing cycles per year were
feasible, which would have meant a possible annual turnover
Police noticed the electricity meter's disc was not turning
over and it was found the meter had been tampered with,
stopping it from recording the house's power consumption. It
was estimated about $17,685 of power had been stolen from
"You had gone to an awful lot of trouble to get this growing
operation right and you had nailed it," Judge McGuire told
The judge said David had a raft of previous convictions,
including cultivation and possession of cannabis for supply
He also had four drink driving convictions and one for
careless driving causing death, he said.
"[Your's is] almost a track record of a career criminal."
Judge McGuire said David was "quite plainly a skilled
"You modified this house into a considerable growing
operation. You don't have to be involved in criminal
behaviour. You have talents aplenty to make a success of your
life without going there."
David wiped tears away as the judge referred to a letter from
"I detect in the tone of her letter a frustration that
someone who's 53 years old is doing what you're doing and
obviously associating with criminals on a regular basis doing
what they are doing."
David was also convicted and discharged on charges of driving
while forbidden, breaching bail and failing to stop after an
- By Katie Holland of the Rotorua Daily Post