Cannabis club founder and co-accused to spend weekend in custody

By Imran Ali -
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Supporters and members of the Daktory Whangarei led by Rob Beeston, front left, outside court before the appearance of Sarah Gwenneth Gillgren. Photo / John Stone
Supporters and members of the Daktory Whangarei led by Rob Beeston, front left, outside court before the appearance of Sarah Gwenneth Gillgren. Photo / John Stone

Two members of a Whangarei 'cannabis club' facing drugs charges will have to convince a District Court judge next week to release them on bail.

Brian Thomas Borland, 60, and Sarah Gwenneth Gillgren, 28, were arrested during a police bust on the Daktory Whangarei in the Port Rd industrial area on Wednesday.

About 100 cannabis plants were allegedly seized from what police said was a significant indoor growing operation in a complex electrical set-up at a metal-clad, workshop-style premises.

Gillgren appeared in the Whangarei District Court yesterday before JPs Mark Farnsworth and Fay Colthurst who said she would have to appear before a judge as JPs did not have jurisdiction under the Bail Act to hear bail applications. Bail is not opposed by police and Gillgren was remanded in custody to re-appear on Monday.

Gillgren has been charged with one count each of selling cannabis; selling cannabis oil and the pair are jointly charged with cultivating cannabis.

Borland's court appearance was excused and he will re-appear on Wednesday next week via audio visual link for a bail application which is opposed by police.

Borland, the club founder, is facing two counts of selling cannabis, and one each of selling cannabis oil; theft of electricity from Northpower worth $17,000; and permitting premises to be used for committing a crime.

A group of about 20 mostly club members showed up at court during Gillgren's appearance yesterday and one shouted "Stay strong Gwen" as she was led back into custody.

Outside court, club spokesman Rob Beeston said police should have charged all club members who, he claimed, owned the cannabis plants that were seized rather than only two people.

Police acting area commander for Whangarei Inspector Al Symonds said: "If through the course of our investigation we uncover evidence that anyone else has been involved in the alleged cannabis growing operation, we will consider the appropriate charges at the time."

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