A Brisbane father can breathe a sigh of relief this week after narrowly escaping prison for growing almost 500g of pot.
David Ljubas, a 47-year-old father of six appeared for sentencing in the Wynnum Magistrates Court on Tuesday. Back in March, he plead guilty to charges of possession of a dangerous drug and producing a dangerous drug. Individually, each of these charges could have earned Ljubas a prison sentence of over ten years.
Instead, lucky Ljubas escaped without any prison time, telling the court he just “liked growing plants”. Ljubas was also in court after violating a Community Services Order after he was charged with similar offences last September.
This year, Ljubas was arrested in his Belmont home, after police executed a search warrant on January 3rd. Once they entered the home, they discovered a hydroponics setup that rivals a commercial operation.
Police were able to seize a range of items including an Esky containing cannabis, a random pile of cannabis leaves, over 100 cannabis seeds and a book on growing cannabis. The book was likely read front to back, as 23 medium-sized plants and 2 large plants were also seized.
In total, police seized 463 grams of dried pot. According to the latest prices, the pot has a street value of around $5,500.
However, the defending lawyer argued that Ljubas never intended to sell the cannabis, instead keeping it for excessive personal use. As a result, he was released on parole and given a suspended sentence of six months imprisonment. Handing down the ruling, Magistrate Sheryl Cornack told Ljubas:
It wasn’t as if you were had one plant for your own use or even a couple of plants for your own use.
Ljubas escaping prison may have had more to do with his home life than his intentions with the cannabis. A father of six, Ljubas’s and his wife divorced in 2017. Eight months later, she was diagnosed with stage four breast cancer. When handing down her ruling, Magistrate Cornack was clear that Ljubas only escaped prison because of his ex-wife’s terminal diagnosis.
With his freedom, perhaps Ljubas should get a job in Toowoomba – Brisbane’s new pot capital.