A Winmalee dad facing police charges after juicing home grown cannabis to treat his seriously ill daughters, was put on a six month good behaviour bond in Penrith Local Court today.
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. The charges were found proven but dismissed and no conviction was recorded.
On March 23 this year, Mr Taylor, a coffee technician trainer, announced an intention to plead not guilty “on the grounds of medical necessity” but he reversed those pleas to guilty on June 12 when police also 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, and solicitor Sally McPherson have been representing Mr Taylor for free during the court case.
Mr Barns provided extensive medical evidence from two doctors to confirm Mr Taylor’s seriously ill daughters had benefited from the juiced cannabis, a non psychoactive form of cannabis.
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, after thorough research by his wife Karen, he decided to grow cannabis in his backyard to help them.
Mr Taylor said his daughters were repeatedly hospitalised with their condition and had serious side effects from pharmaceutical drugs.
One of the daughters Morgan is now on a free three month trial of medicinal cannabis – the drug normally costs $1000 monthly.
Penrith Local Court Magistrate Stephen Corry took into consideration the substantive medical evidence on the beneficial effects of the juiced cannabis on the daughters’ condition, including from the police’s own consultant forensic pharmacologist, John Andrew Farrar.
Mr Taylor’s daughters hugged the police prosecutor outside the court.
The court heard had the case gone to the district court, Mr Taylor could have faced 10 years in jail.
Solicitor Sally McPherson said outside the court “the law can’t continue to operate in a vacuum to what the community wants and needs which is lawful access to cannabis”.
Mr Taylor said they were relieved the case was over.
“I couldn’t put my girls through any more.”