Dunedin dope grower is brother of anti-drug boss

The head of an anti-drug lobby group has condemned the "foolish actions" of her younger brother, convicted last week of running a sophisticated cannabis-growing operation from his Dunedin house.

Alcohol Drug Association of New Zealand chief executive Cate Kearney confirmed truck driver Bernard James Paul Kearney (45), convicted last week on two cannabis charges and sentenced to two years and two months' imprisonment, was her younger brother.

Ms Kearney, in a written statement to the Otago Daily Times, said the family had not had contact "with Bernard for some time", but two weeks ago she received a call from him to say he had been arrested last March on "serious drug charges".

"He is now suffering the consequences of his foolish actions and is paying the penalty of imprisonment," Christchurch-based Ms Kearney said.

"This is an example of how drugs and drug use can involve any family and we can only hope that Bernard will receive the help he so obviously needs while in prison and on his release.

"Even though he has brought our family name into disrepute and has deeply hurt us all, as a member of our family Bernard can expect support and help from us in his situation."

Ms Kearney has worked as the chief executive of the association since 2005 and had worked in the alcohol and other drug sectors for seven years.

Kearney pleaded guilty to charges of cultivating cannabis and possession of cannabis for supply in the High Court at Dunedin on Friday.

A Dunedin detective described the indoor cannabis growing operation at the Glenleith house as one of the most sophisticated he had seen in 10 years as a police officer.

Forty-two cannabis plants were discovered in the basement of the Islay St house, which had been converted into growing rooms complete with lighting, watering and ventilation systems.


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