An unemployed man who cheated Genesis Energy out of payment for power he used to grow cannabis was sentenced to home detention and ordered to pay back the power company when he appeared for sentence in Masterton District Court this week.
David Trevor Bright, of Masterton, pleaded guilty to cultivating cannabis and theft in what was revealed in court to be repeat crimes to those he had been convicted on in 2010.
Bright represented himself in court and unsuccessfully attempted to persuade judge Chris Tuohy the cannabis he had been growing in his garage was all for his own use.
Crown prosecutor Stephanie Bishop said numerous plants had been found on Bright's property in what was a "relatively sophisticated, commercial operation."
Miss Bishop said electricity worth a total of $881.86 had been siphoned off to help grow the plants. She said the crimes were a copy of what Bright had done in 2010.
Judge Tuohy told Bright he did not accept the cannabis was all for Bright's own use.
He said there was a "commercial element to this" and the cannabis cultivation was "more than just growing a couple of plants out the back.
"A lot of work had gone into setting up the system and I am satisfied you were selling some of the cannabis."
Judge Tuohy said Bright had "obviously not learned a lesson" from 2010 when he had received a "surprisingly low" community-based sentence.
He sentenced Bright to 8 months home detention and ordered him to undergo drug and alcohol assessment, counselling or treatment as required.
Bright was not to be in possession of any non-prescribed drugs and an order was issued for the destruction of the cannabis plants and equipment.
Bright was also ordered to pay reparation to Genesis Energy of the total amount of stolen electricity.