Stephen Taylor of Winmalee pleads guilty in Penrith Local Court

A Winmalee dad facing police charges after juicing home grown cannabis to treat his seriously ill daughters has changed his plea to guilty in Penrith Local Court.

Stephen Taylor, 64, was charged with cultivating a commercial quantity of a prohibited drug and two counts of possessing a prohibited drug, after police removed 107 cannabis plants from his rented home on December 8 last year. 

On March 23, he announced an intention to plead not guilty “on the grounds of medical necessity” but he reversed those pleas on June 12. Police have now removed a charge of possessing a commercial quantity of a prohibited drug.

One of Australia’s leading barristers, the former chair of the Australian Republican Movement and adviser to Julian Assange and Wikileaks, Greg Barns, is representing Mr Taylor for free. There are two other medical marijuana cases before the Australian courts about the issue. Mr Barns and the family chose not to make any comment outside the court. 

Mr Taylor spent more than five years watching daughters Morgan, 21, and Ariel, 25, suffer from the chronic auto-immune condition Crohn's Disease before deciding to grow cannabis in his backyard to help them. The sisters were repeatedly hospitalised with the condition and had serious side effects from pharmaceutical drugs. 

Magistrate Georgia Knight has set the case down for sentencing on July 20 when medical evidence will be heard about the daughters’ condition.