A cannabis oil cook-up gone wrong caused three explosions at an Orowaiti Road property, the Westport District Court was told yesterday.

Westport man Bruce Raymond Kenny, aged 61, pleaded guilty to a charge of supplying equipment for the production of cannabis oil.

Kenny was living in the rear unit of a three-unit block at the time of the incident. Police prosecutor Sergeant Chris Stringer said that on October 17 a close associate of Kenny's, whom he referred to as the other defendant, visited him at his home.

He wanted to produce cannabis oil so Kenny lent him plastic bottles, alcohol-soaked cannabis, butane gas canisters and ceramic bowls.


While the cooking was taking place Kenny went outside.

Stringer said a switch on an electric kettle in the kitchen flicked off creating a spark causing three butane gas canisters to explode in succession.

Kenny went into the kitchen and tried to extinguish the fire and called emergency services.

His fellow defendant was badly burned and fled the property before police arrived. Kenny tried to take full responsibility for what had happened and police were not aware that the second man had been present until they were informed that he had been airlifted to Nelson Hospital for treatment.

Stringer said the explosions cracked the kitchen window, scorched walls and shook neighbouring properties. The cost of the damage was still being assessed.

Duty lawyer Marcus Zintl said a Buller Hospital social worker confirmed that Kenny had suffered a traumatic brain injury in an assault in December 2012. He had subsequently been diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder, depression and cannabis dependency.

Judge Noel Walsh remanded Kenny on bail until February 16. He directed that a report on Kenny's mental health be prepared for that date.

He noted that Kenny had had no convictions for the past 11 years but three drinking convictions prior to that.


- Westport News