By Cynthia Dube
A man from Bulawayo who was found growing 100 plants of dagga, some measuring three metres in his backyard, has been ordered to perform 315 hours of community service.
Callin Jaison Bent (32), a tenant at Lobenvale plots in Bulawayo, told Provincial Magistrate Mr Tinashe Tashaya that he was a drug addict and his wife took the dagga to cure asthma.
Police arrested Bent on Monday after receiving a tip-off that he was growing dagga.
He appeared before Mr Tashaya on Thursday facing a charge of unlawful cultivation of dagga.
Bent pleaded guilty and Mr Tashaya ordered him to perform 315 hours of community service at Sauerstown Police Station.
“Your Worship, I admit to the charges levelled against me. I swear, l will never ever take drugs anymore starting from today. I knew that it was illegal to be found in possession of dagga but I never bothered myself about it,”he said.
“I was cultivating dagga because I`m a drug addict and I take a cup of dagga every day. My wife is taking a cup of dagga per month because she is asthmatic and she uses it as medicine.”
The magistrate sentenced Bent to a wholly suspended 12 months in prison.
“Three months is suspended on condition that you do not commit a similar crime within five years. The remaining nine months is suspended on condition that you perform 315 hours of community service at Sauerstown Police Station,” said Mr Tashaya.
The magistrate said he had considered that Bent was a first time offender and did not waste the court`s time by pleading guilty.
Prosecuting, Ms Leanne Nkomo said on March 13 this year, police received information that Bent was growing dagga at Lobenvale Plot where he lives in a rented cottage.
Acting on the information, police attended to the scene where 100 plants of dagga were recovered in a field and some were in a tin next to the cottage.
“The plants were recovered and measured between 30 centimetres and three metres in height,” said Ms Nkomo. The Chronicle