80-year-old plans to kick cannabis habit, judge told

The Oamaru Courthouse. Photo: ODT files
The Oamaru Courthouse. Photo: ODT files

An 80-year-old Oamaru man found to be in possession of more than 15 ounces of cannabis, all for personal use, has told a judge he plans to kick his habit and find alternative ways to self-medicate.

Brian John Arbuckle appeared before Judge Joanna Maze at the Oamaru District Court on Wednesday for sentencing on a charge of possession of cannabis.

The court heard police executed a search warrant at an Oamaru property on June 7, in relation to drug offending allegedly carried out by the defendant’s 29-year-old grandson, who occasionally stayed there.

When officers converged on the property and conducted the search, they discovered more than 400g of high-quality dried cannabis in a locked safe inside a secured shed.

Keys to the safe and shed were found in Arbuckle’s bedroom.

Of the 432g seized, valued about $4900, 398g was packed into 13 resealable plastic bags that each contained between 28g and 37g of cannabis. Another 34g was discovered in a brown paper bag.

Arbuckle, who told police the cannabis was for personal use, claimed the cannabis was harvested from four plants he stumbled across in a forest about a year earlier.

Defence lawyer Michael de Buyzer said Arbuckle sustained a serious injury as the result of an accident more than 30 years ago and had an artificial left leg, and frequently self-medicated with cannabis.

Mr de Buyzer admitted the quantity of cannabis found at Arbuckle’s property ‘‘looked suspicious’’, which Judge Maze accepted.

‘‘I agree there are some immediate suspicions that leap to mind when you read the facts,’’ she said.

She said given Arbuckle’s age, it was clear he was not part of Oamaru’s ‘‘drug community’’.

When questioned by Judge Maze, Arbuckle said he was prepared to seek other forms of pain relief.

He was ordered to appear if called on within six months.